It all Boils down to a supreme evening for Boily

Review by Paul Nelson

CABARET acts come and go and they nearly always conform to one set of rules. Songs ancient and modern sung in a special idiosyncratic way, all aimed to please and nearly always sung by someone the audience as a whole recognises.

These things cannot be said of Deborah Boily, who is completing a return engagement at the Jermyn Street Theatre with the excellent Nathan Martin on piano.

Naming her show I've Got My Standards . . . Now and Then, the evening is one of genuine fascination to anyone interested in the special art form cabaret takes and anyone who is a collector of the (mainly) American popular song.

The songs all have a special place in Miss Boily's repertoire because of various places where she has appeared, lived, or just fancied going to see. In that sense it is truly a personal view, which is of course essential to cabaret. She also excels in producing songs even some of the most avid collectors would find new to them. I count myself as one of that category.

Songs by Marilyn and Alan Bergman for instance, Peter Allen and William Finn. Presented as they are in this format, a format I suspect for which they were written, though some of the songs in the set have made Broadway appearances, they make the evening one of interest and delight.

That is not to say that the entire evening is esoteric. Songs from John Lennon, Bacharach/David, Elton John/Bernie Taupin and Harold Arlen, mingle comfortably with a series of French songs.

It has always struck me as curious that Americans are so taken with Paris. From Cole Porter onwards, romantic songs have featured in almost all the songwriters' repertoires. Miss Boily goes one better. Having lived there, she has a collection of the popular as well as the more out of the way French songs, and is able to regale her audience with anecdotes told in an easy manner, a winning asset to her undisputed talent as a singer.

No pun intended, but these evenings all boil down as to whether or not the artiste can engage the audience. Sometimes an unfamiliar singer can take a little time to catch on to your wavelength. This is true of Miss Boily. She takes about three and a half minutes, and then it's all plain sailing.

I've Got My Standards . . . Now and Then, a cabaret evening with Deborah Boily, Musical Director Nathan Martin. Presented at and by The Jermyn Street Theatre 16B Jermyn Street, London SW1. 020 7287 2875.

Click here for the Jermyn Street Theatre website...
Click here for Deborah Boily's website...