Kit and McConnel

The split of a long-established duo is like a marital divorce. Kit and the Widow were at the top of the sophisticated cabaret league for over two decades until they parted company last year. It’s a hard act to follow, and inevitably comparisons will be made, whatever they each do. Kit is now footloose. Is he looking for a fling, or another permanent relationship? In teaming up with Jamie McConnel he is seeking solace in the arms of an old flame, in that they have known each other and written together on and off for over thirty years.

So does the new team match up to the old one? Kit’s wit is as sharp as ever, the lyrics superlatively crafted in a tradition which stretches through Noel Coward and Flanders and Swann. Much of it is bang up to the minute, with songs about Scottish Independence, Ed Milliband, the sexy Lib Dems, Berlusconi (Ar-sole Mio) and Fifty Shades of Grey, which strays somewhat into Victoria Wood territory. I’d only heard one before, about fighting terrorism with toothpaste, nail scissors, and all the other things which irritatingly get seized at Heathrow. There are some good one liners too: ‘Nick Clegg is half Dutch, so it really should be Nick Clogg.’ There are also two serious songs, which provide welcome contrast, and one, Afghanistan, is deeply moving. It is all the more angry for being so compassionate and so full of the kind of detail which you get from someone who has been there and done his research.

Jamie McConnel isn’t as subtle a composer or pianist as Richard Sissons (the Widow) was, but his work sells the lyrics, and he performs a neat party trick, improvising a composition based on the notes of the name of someone picked out of the audience, as Liszt and Reger did with B-A-C-H. As a singer he could do with a bit more oomph, articulation and projection. Kit too had articulation problems in the patter numbers. They don’t use mikes - Kit is unplugged, which I’m sure is a disappointment to him – and at times the piano drowns the voice. But this was a first night, and it’s an ungrateful acoustic at the Edinburgh Academy. Kit himself shows considerable improvement on the later gigs – less meaningless mugging, more focus, more interesting movement. This seems a relationship of equals, since Jamie has his own space to shine. I’d say it is definitely a relationship which could have staying power.

The show closes with a parody which is hilarious and probably slanderous. If I was a bigwig at Nando’s I’d pay a large amount of money to buy the song and get it out of circulation. As it is, I can’t stop singing it (to the tune of Abba’s ‘Fernando’):

‘There was something in the food that night

That wasn’t right

At Nando’s’

Reviews by Peter Scott-Presland

Charing Cross Theatre

Jacques Brel is Alive and Living in Paris

★★★
Jermyn Street Theatre

Return of the Soldier

★★★
Southwark Playhouse

Eye of a Needle

★★★★
Rosemary Branch Theatre

The Trial of the Jew Shylock

★★★
Southwark Playhouse

In The Heights

★★★★

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

Kit Hesketh-Harvey of Kit and the Widow, 'Cabaret royalty' (Time Out), teams with Hugh Grantalike/James McConnel singing new songs. Bargain prices. August 16th-26th, Thu-Sat 18:45 and 20:30, Sun-Weds 19:30. Beautiful gardens. Lovely loos. Free Parking!

Most Popular See More

The Phantom of the Opera

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

My Fair Lady

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Book of Mormon

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Grease the Musical

From £20.00

More Info

Find Tickets