Although fresh out of Kander and Ebb’s And The World Goes Round at the St James Theatre, Alexandra Da Silva is no stranger to the cabaret world. Not only is it round two of La Petite Divatante, she has appeared in cabaret evening Been on Broadway at the Duchess Theatre, performed in Peter Polycarpou’s The Songs of My Life at the Garrick Theatre among others and this shines through. The Petite Divatante looks completely in her natural habitat on stage and that, in it’s essence, made the night a success.
Skillfully Musically Directed and put together by Joe Louis Robinson, the show had the perfect shape. It would’ve been very easy for the show to be ruined by a badly arranged set list, but the evening had the balance of comedy into ballads to a T. This meant the evening rarely dragged but instead the seamlessness of transitions between moods and style meant I was constantly entertained.
This was also achieved due to Da Silva’s charming and funny personality, which shone between songs as well as during them. Her banter with the audience and band members, Joe Louis Robinson and Phil Donnelly (various guitar and a double bass) was light and dynamic. It invited the audience to feel as if they were part of her group of friends rather than a formal fourth wall or feeling as if we were being shut out of an inside joke between Da Silva and friends in the audience. This was then supported by the intimate set of the Pheasantry and I increasingly felt like I was part of a very personal and special evening.
The highlight of the evening for me was The Inappropriate Wedding Songs Song medley. She set it up as if her friends had chosen a selection of songs for her to sing at her mother’s upcoming wedding – a perfect example of the personal nature of the show. It was cleverly set up and wonderfully executed, not only by Da Silva but the band too. The interaction between Robinson and Donnelly created the complete comic package and gave as a chance to build a nice personal relationship with the band.
Da Silva’s voice is extremely powerful and coupled with her gorgeous tone each song was a joy. However, a show like this could die a death if it became just about a voice. A sign of a skilled performer is to be able to embody a role in a show truthfully. Da Silva embodies twenty in just a few hours like a seasoned professional.
Again, the variety of the show assisted this and therefore it was a rare moment when I was disconnected.
The combination of a wonderful performer, fantastic musicians and a lovely venue that is below a Pizza Express (let’s be honest, the pizza didn’t hurt) created an extremely enjoyable evening. I look forward to following the rest of Da Silva’s career, as I am certain that this is only the beginning.
Review by Kara Taylor Alberts