Mary Coughlan

‘Eyes that flirt with a tear are common round here, and misery loves company they say.’ Those fabulous Jack Teagarden lyrics filled Queen’s Hall during Mary Coughlan’s recent concert there. Coughlan, a veteran of life, the stage, and anything else that’s left between, has full command of her voice, the audience, and anywhere that might be playing the Blues. You can meet her there.

Her voice - smoky, growling, yet also capable of breaking free into the ether in yelping wails - is hypnotic and irresistible. Supported well on piano and double bass, she manages to give both flight and weight to her sound, which is filled with her years of experience as well as her open heart. Despite all the discussion - both from Coughlan herself and the press - of the singer’s tough times, her performance is not world-weary. There is an innocence and a youthfulness about her stage presence and a mischievous commitment to hope. She’s lithe, in her way, and sweetly approachable. She feels like a friend. A friend who can really sing. But she can bring you down, too. There is no amount of whisky in the world that can numb a person to her cover of ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’, which she sings as a ballad. If you make it out to see her on her next tour, bring a tissue. Bring a box.

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.
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The Blurb

One of Ireland’s most distinctive voices since overnight success in 1984. Singing songs of joy, sadness, mischief and melancholy. Songs by Billie Holiday, Bessie Smith and Peggy Lee, her voice effortlessly straddling jazz, blues, chanson and pop. www.marycoughlanmusic.com.

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