The Crazy Coqs, the premier cabaret room in the West End, is no more – it reopens in September rebranded as Tonight At Zedel under its new artistic director, American singer-songwriter Scott Alan, with a broader canvas of activities aimed at making more use of the space.
Much-loved programmer and host Ruth Leon said ‘Welcome to Crazy Coqs’ for the last time this week in a two-evening farewell party that gave her a rousing send-off.
Many of the artists who had performed there over its four-year life came back to sing for her and it was a poignant moment when the Totties serenaded her with ‘Our Thanks to You’ (actually ‘My Thanks To You’ when Noel Gay and Norman Newell wrote it in 1950 but justifiable artistic licence!).
Others to entertain at the second of the two packed-to-the-rafters sessions were Janie Dee, Stefan Bednarczyk, Adele Anderson, Elaine Delmar, Christian Holder, Gary Bland, Alice Imelda and compere Harold Sanditen.
It was Noel Coward interpreter Bednarczyk who got the biggest cheer for his hilarious ‘A Bar On the Piccola Marina’ and the wicked Dee’s innuendo-laced ‘My Private Delight’, replete with saucy cream-cake prop, also filled the room with laughter.
Jeremy King, co-founder of the Brasserie Zedel, whose idea the Crazy Coqs was as the place to go to be entertained before or after grazing at the restaurant, presented Leon with an engraved silver teapot and even sang to her himself.
He called her the ‘heart and soul’” of the room and Leon, widow of author and critic Sheridan Morley and herself a published Great American Songbook expert, in turn said King had been the best boss anyone could have and that the last four years had been the happiest of her life.
Getting in a plug for her new role as programmer for The Pheasantry from September, she later told me that many of the stars who had lit up Crazy Coqs would be seen at the Kings Road venue, starting with Dillie Keane of Fascinating Aida fame.
Two singer-songwriter legends, Amanda McBroom and Ann Hampton Callaway, who appeared at Crazy Coqs in April, will return in November as two highlights of the Pheasantry’s autumn programme.
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Ruth Leon – From There to Here – St James Studio Theatre – Review