Like a piano player in brothel or a chanteuse at an orgy, Sabrina Chap is the fallen woman of cabaret. A classically-trained pianist who slipped into the world of burlesque and bawdy songs, Chap has bags of personality and cheeky twinkle that entices the audience in this small, hot space to lean in and let her take control.
She’s cabaret to the core and this show reflects that.
Chap, resplendent in classic ‘burlesque girl’ look, sits at the piano and regales us with the tale of her embracing the bad girl persona. The songs that pepper the show are all original creations and are catchy, witty and wonderfully performed. The subjects covered include one night stands, the political situation, and even a little heartbreak are worthy of the enthusiastic applause from the audeince.
Chap is what would happen if Tom Waits regenerated into Amanda Palmer but learned to be funny and a little self-aware along the way. She owns the tiny performance space and it’s only afterwards that one realises that the show was as political as it was entertaining. Chap has a flair for words and makes many a salient point about sexual politics and isn’t afraid to throw in some emotion where it counts.
Based in Brooklyn, Chap is brash without being aggressive, suggestive without seeming slutty (although she’s happy to embrace the title) and funny enough to hold her own alongside any of the talented comedians at the Fringe. She’s also confident with the audience, regularly engaging directly without ever taking it too far. Chap is cabaret to the core and this show reflects that; here the fourth wall is shattered and she is dancing on its remains.
Edinburgh Fringe has learned to embrace cabaret over the past few years and with quality performers like Chap returning that embrace enthusiastically, it gives me hope that even a self-proclaimed bad girl can be this good.