BOUM! C'est Chantastique

Across the street from Moulin Rouge lies a slice of understated elegance that is Brasserie Zedel. A short flight of stairs down, lies Crazy Coqs, a darkened art deco cabaret club that transports us back to the speakeasy time when diamonds were a girl's best friend. WE half expect Liza Minnelli or Édith Piaf to step onstage and perform a song that touches your very soul.

Certainly y’a d’la joie to be here

It is in this venue that Christopher Staines takes the stage with BOUM! C’est Chantastique, a cabaret that provides a redefinition of classic songs from the catalogues of Charles Trenet, Yves Montand and Jacques Brel; songs that make us laugh, cry and reflect on what it means to be alive. With new translations (and the occasional lyric) by Staines and accompanied on the piano by Jason Carr, this cabaret is a perfect mix and balance of all of its components; the English and French, comedy and solemnity, original and traditional. It’s a beautiful cabaret that comes together neatly, having enough of everything so at no point does it feel like soemthing is missing.

This cabaret is the culmination of Staines’ crusade to provide more accurate English translations of these classic chansons than the ones that came before and made famous by the likes of Bobby Darin. It’s clear when he’s telling us about these songs and their composers that they hold a special place in his heart, making the fact that he’s sharing them with us all the more special. He takes us from Sous le Ciel de Paris to La Mer, to the heart and soul in songs like J’arrive and Ne Quitte Pas, a journey that is interspersed with songs inspired by classic chansons but with an original twist, turning La Bicyclette into a mishap-filled holiday to Paris and his own self-parody in Chrissie, Staines’ salute to Jacque Brel’s La Chanson de Jackie.

Within the songs, Staines seamlessly switches between English to French and back, often within the same song, so we get to experience the songs in their original form whilst also giving us a form that we fully understand. He manages to infuse comedy in his performance, whether as part of his performance or in the background that he provides to us about them, all the while guiding us by the hand through these songs. But there are some things in this set that surpass language, and Staines communicates them extremely well, leaning into the intention behind the words. Staines’ voice is very well suited to these songs, and we get the impression that we are listening to a live performances of a golden age recording. If these songs are scratching beneath the surface of humanity, then Staines’ performance brings the scratchings into the light.

This cabaret is both for long-time fans of the chanson and for those discovering the style for the first time. It is one of the many things throughout the evening that Staines does well; he makes these songs accessible for everyone who wants to hear them. BOUM! C’est Chantastique is a nostalgic celebration of the chanson, and certainly y’a d’la joie to be here.

Reviews by Katerina Partolina Schwartz

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now



The Blurb

Somewhere beyond the sea… La France, so near yet so tout à fait différente.

Take a trip across the Channel with fresh translations of classic songs made famous by Charles Trenet, Yves Montand and Jacques Brel – to make your heart go BOUM!

Singer and actor Christopher Staines (“Excellent”, The Guardian; “Captivating presence” The Stage, “Astounding panache”, The Public Reviews) has performed in productions in the West End, at the National Theatre, in Europe and America and in musicals ranging from Cabaret to The Hired Man. He has had a penchant for French chansons ever since listening to them as a teenager in the suburbs, where they first inspired dreams of escape beyond the cliffs of Dover.

He will be accompanied by Jason Carr, Crazy Coqs regular and Tony and Olivier-award nominee.

They are thrilled to be returning to Crazy Coqs after sell-out shows to breathe new life into hits such as La Mer (Somewhere Beyond the Sea) and Ne Me Quitte Pas (If You Go Away) with new versions in English, and a bonne bouche of French.

Jump aboard for the joy, the heartache and the charm of these chanteurs and their unforgettable chansons.

Most Popular See More

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £12.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Frozen the Musical

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mamma Mia!

From £21.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £15.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Book of Mormon

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets