Jack Lynch has written and directed an absolute gem of a show, which plays just right in the intimate cocktail bar space at the Broadway Lounge.
Accompanied by guitarist James Shannon, its solo performer Pippa Winslow, recreates the Greek myth that was Phaedra.
She whimsically and tipsily takes us through her life story – featuring her brother the Minotaur- half-man half-bull, his love affair and marriage to Theseus, their eventual coronation, his infidelity and her fascination for her step-son Hippolytus.
If this sounds dry as dust – it isn’t. Because in between times she sings some of the best classics from the 1920.s 30’s and 40’s – from Gershwin, Porter and others.
And it works – as she covers the uncontrollable nature of love, its destructiveness and its addiction. As she says in one lyric “Do I order cyanide or order champagne?” Of course ironically she succumbs to both but that’s Greek tragedy for you.
Her luxurious voice and Jerry Hall looks make her irresistible to her lovers and to us too. From the steamy passion of Mad About the Boy to the girlish Zing went the strings of my heart, she hits every mood going – and she mixes cocktails as she goes along. As a bonus we get the cocktail recipes in our programme.
Her wry asides to the audience are delicious “If you don’t have a drink you’re gonna wish you had.“
When she eventually gets the man of her dreams – singing You Give me Fever, and Let’s Face the Music and Dance, and You’re getting to be a habit with me, it all of course, as per a good tragedy goes what she so aptly calls “tits up“.
As she says “when you are heartbroken you tell the same story over and over again to anyone who will listen.” When Theseus takes mistresses, her reply in song is Mean to Me, and the ironic My Man.
Her obsession with the handsome step-son leads her to a medley You Go to My Head, Embraceable You, Bewitched Bothered and Bewildered. I guess you are getting the idea of the show which so cleverly weaves the classics into classical mythology.
As she describes her “diversity of misery and woe” the story comes to its inevitable fatal conclusion. She has her personal Hell, but in a very ingenious ending, we discover that we do too.
The guitar of James Shannon is subtle, moody and just right throughout.
If you see nothing else in the Fringe, you must catch this little gem.
The show runs on May 21, 29 and June 3 at the Broadway Lounge.
YOU GIVE ME FEVER the Phaedra Cabaret
LynchPin Productions Theatre Company
Venue: Broadway Lounge, 10 Steine Street, Brighton
Date of performance review: May 15
Reviewed by: Brian Butler