The decadently French surroundings of the Crazy Coqs cabaret bar within the similarly lavish dining rooms of Brasserie Zédel in Soho play their part well in La Voix’s kick off to a tour around the UK and US that sees this multi-award-winning artist take on London, New York, San Francisco and, um, Richmond in North Yorkshire.
To describe La Voix purely as a singer would be like calling Picasso a decorator
La Voix – alter ego Chris Dennis – is a performer with powerful pipes born of the drag circuit and now more at home beneath a proscenium arch. After snatching the crown in Drag Idol 2012 and the London Cabaret Awards in 2014, she hit the headlines as semi-finalist on ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent. The move from pubs to purpose-built theatres is a smart one, giving this adept entertainer the ability to deliver a properly crafted show rather than just banging out a few showtunes to the theme of ‘crowd control’.
Sporting signature pillar-box red curls, La Voix’s mission tonight is to “bring back glamour, class and sophistication”; a duty she discharges with distinction – but never in an aloof way. Even before she’s made it to the stage, she disarms any ostentation with a few well placed remarks over the mic from behind the bar, then launches into Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend delivered from table to table. Years of dealing with boisterous crowds in pubs has taught this lady how to work a room, and it isn’t long before she’s had a conversation with practically every group – the ice well and truly broken and bonds between performer and audience forged. This is a masterclass in cabaret.
“Tuesday is the new night out” she declares, in a manifesto that exposes her comic talent, plus sets up some nice callbacks for later. An impressive rendition of Don’t Rain On My Parade follows, and La Voix gets on with the business she’s best known for – her uncanny impressions of the biggest divas on the planet. First up is Cher with a short tutorial for any audience member wishing to try this at home and an admission that the chosen track – Just Like Jessie James – could go awry due to it being a bit wordy (“My name’s La Voix, not La Lyric”). But it doesn’t. It’s flawless.
Judy Garland is next in her sights, but here comes the twist as our favourite Dorothy sings Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance With Somebody, complete with Garland’s body language and inflection. It’s side-splitting material that is soon complimented with Judy’s daughter Liza doing Adele’s Hello. Or how about Liza singing Mein Herr at the age of 74?
To describe La Voix purely as a singer would be like calling Picasso a decorator, such is the depth of talent on exhibit. If a show-stopping performance of And I Am Telling You from Dreamgirls isn’t proof enough, the Tina Turner and Shirley Bassey parodies should seal the deal. Comic and gifted in equal measure, La Voix is an act worthy of your attention.