Miss Hope Springs performs Out of this World at the Crazy Coqs, London.
Whilst the lion’s share of events for the London Festival of Cabaret will be taking place through October and November, here is a chance to sample early one of the delights on offer. Miss Hope Springs is the brain-child of accomplished singer/songwriter Ty Jeffries. A retired showgirl/lounge-singer, Springs is a formidable comic creation in the tradition of Dame Edna Everage or perhaps Chris Green’s country and western singer Tina C. Not simply a drag queen, Jeffries has crafted a complete character history for Miss Springs and has now been resident at the Crazy Coqs for 15 months.
Bedecked in shimmering sequins and sporting a beehive that defies the laws of natural fibre, Miss Springs conjures up images of a statuesque Dusty Springfield performing in a Vegas lounge. The act is practically flawless, with Miss Springs combining a winning mix of vulnerability and comedy to withstand the most cynical of audiences. Ultimately however, what really sets Miss Springs apart is her material, a catalogue of original and evocative comedy numbers written by the performer. Neatly crafted pastiches from an easy-listening era, the songs could easily have been crafted by Hal David or Burt Bacharach. The attention to detail is exquisitely funny and remarkably engaging.
After a series of evenings which saw Miss Hope examine culture on the continent, Out of This World finds a wealth of comedy in matters celestial. Combine ‘Fly Me to the Moon’ with Gene Roddenberry and you will have some idea of how the evening unfolds, summed up with a line from the opening number ‘Rocket to the Stars’: “So long Manhattan, roll on Saturn.” Whether ‘Dancing Down the Milky Way’ or shimmying her way through ‘Zodiac Lover’, Miss Springs perfectly captures the sound and musical stylings of the era, with herself on piano and Gareth Davies on bass and Sam Glasson on percussion – with the occasional addition of a theremin to add to the nostalgia of it all.
The set features a selection of brand new numbers including ‘Out of This World’, dedicated to Leonard Nimoy, and the wry ‘Girl in a Million’, but there are moments to relish the simple magic of the songwriter such as ’Love Like a River’ and the bitter-sweet ‘Water and Salt’. Before the mood becomes a tad too melancholy we are treated to a number from an imaginary Tallulah Bankhead musical biopic. Marking Miss Springs’ woefully brief entrée into the world of musical theatre, ‘I’m Bi’ cranks up the comedy factor a few more notches, while she closes with what could easily become her signature tune, ‘Devil’, one of those perfectly pitched ballads with a refrain that you simply can’t shake from your head.
Miss Hope Springs has been a slow burn, a genuine word-of-mouth success in synergy with the venue itself, and in just over a year she has become one of the most important cabaret creations of the decade and a fitting addition to the London Festival of Cabaret. The residency continues at the Crazy Coqs every Sunday evening throughout the festival and beyond.
Musical Theatre Review meets Miss Hope Spring: www.musicaltheatrereview.com/miss-hope-springs