From the moment you walk into the room, the mood is set. With the band, Swinging Hot Trio, providing some background jazz, and Virginia Gay’s ‘buttress’ character walking around flirting and climbing over audience members – it is apparent that this is going to be a boozy, jazzy, irreverent affair.
Drawing in some fantastic names from around the Fringe circuit, the show will undoubtedly be enjoyable. Recent guests include: Felicity Ward, Tom Thum, Fred MacAulay, East End Cabaret – all of whom have received rave reviews. However, the reason this show stands out is because of Ali McGregor herself. She interacts with all her guests, and introduces them with respect and admiration: naming their shows, times and venues before they come on stage – something which is often left for the performer to do themselves. Her warmth towards her fellow performers is apparent in the way she sits on stage watching them, cackling at their jokes and swaying to their songs.
She and her ‘hired help’, Virginia Gay, interact with the audience in a flirty, humorous and light-hearted way. However, they do not rely on their audience skills alone, with both showcasing incredible talent. Gay’s husky growl and dirty songs act as a wonderful contrast to McGregor’s astonishing ‘whistle tone’ notes – a very rare ability that she pulls off so effortlessly and beautifully. These high notes should be painful on the ear, but she uses them sparingly to great effect. Meanwhile, her adaptations of songs such as ‘Push It’, and her Prodigy medley provide humour as well as abundant musical talent, by transforming these largely non-melodic songs into fiery jazz numbers.
Despite being heavily pregnant, this doesn't slow her down and is such an engaging performer as a result. She is constantly interacting with her acts, the audience and the band, dancing around stage and using the full range of her voice in expert fashion – knowing exactly when to belt a note and when to hold back. With her stunning jazz vocals and her humble, relaxed attitude, McGregor puts on a truly dazzling variety show.