Michael Darvell at Pizza on the Park
It is rare these days to see a full house at Pizza on the Park in Knightsbridge. Whether this has to do with the kind of performers they are booking at the moment, I do not know. It may have something to do with publicity or just a general lack of interest in cabaret, an art form that Londoners have still not yet come to terms with. They need constant nurturing and to be made aware of what and who is available, if it is ever going to succeed in the capital city. We have so few real cabaret rooms that it is a pity not to try and keep those we still have in operation. apart from the Pizza on the Park, there is hardly anywhere for good cabaret artists to appear. There are plenty of music venues for jazz, and there is the Jermyn Street Theatre, and the Potting Shed restaurant in Dorset Square has good music and, when the Dial is up and running at the Mountbatten Hotel in Covent Garden, this will be another regular spot, but it is mainly Pizza on the Park that still carries the flag for cabaret in London.
Pizza on the Park is packing them in now with someone you shouldn’t miss at any price. American singer-songwriter Amanda McBroom is performing her own songs in a set of remarkable maturity. This lady provides a object lesson in how to engage an audience. She sings, she chats to the assembled company, she introduces her musical director, the amazing Michele Brourman, with whom she has written many of her songs, they duet, and she offers her heart and soul in a performance of totally winning charm. her songs often strike a plangent note and she just loves to tell a story. Make Me a Kite, Breathing, Errol Flynn and Dance all tell a story and they are rather like one-act plays discreetly told in poetry.
However, she can also raunch it up and, when she is not revealing aspects of her real life and thoughts, Amanda can also fantasize with the best of them. In Hitch Hiker she sings of what might ensue if she just happened to pick up that lovely man hitching a ride on the freeway. She has the ability of being able to pinpoint an emotion or an action or a thought, keep it in mind and in so doing build a complete picture around her lyrics. You may know Amanda McBroom from the title song to the Bette Midler film The Rose or the equally famous Ship in a Bottle. Now you can get to know the rest of her work.
As well as her own songs (available now on her latest album, Portraits from Gecko Records) Amanda will be singing a late set Thursday to Saturday at 11:15pm of other material. Don’t miss!
AMANDA McBROOM is at Pizza on the Park until June 10: Tuesday & Wednesday at 9:15pm, Thursday to Saturday at 9:15pm & 11:15pm. See Nightlife cabaret listings…