11 – 29 August (not 16 or 23)
2000-2100, Assembly @ Princes St Gardens
As Meow Meow takes the stage – looking for all the world like a manically dishevelled Liza Minelli after she’s stuck her fingers in an electrical socket – we know immediately we are in the presence of a star.
The diva’s mission is simple: to give her adoring crowd their money’s worth – even if she has been ‘reduced’ to playing the Assembly’s new cabaret venue in Princes St Gardens – or, as she puts it, a “tent built on a swamp”.
Meow Meow is a justified star of the cabaret circuit, with her unique mixture of belting tunes and raucous comedy. As she pauses midset to berate a latecomer, or expresses her distaste at the tawdriness of her stage set, it is easy to forget she also possesses one of the strongest vocal talents at the Fringe. Whether it is a superbly psychotic rendition of The Dresden Dolls’ Miss Me; or a version of Brel’s Ne Me Quitte Pas which transforms into a big Vegas number midway through: her voice shines as brightly as the spotlight she herself holds up to her face.
A large part of a Meow Meow show is about the willing – and otherwise – audience participation. No seat in the house is safe from her persuasive charms as she coaxes people from their seats to assist her create a special atmosphere; or – in one of her signature routines – help her make a direct trip from the stage to the bar at the back of the venue.
Meow Meow is backed by an excellent live trio of pianist, cellist and percussionist who help her whip up a whirlwind of showstopping tunes in an hour of non-stop entertainment. And with sassy style and brassy boldness, she commands the stage with a hilariously realised presence that has no equal.
By the end of her set, as she staggers out the mirrored doors of the venue to the applause from a much-deserved standing ovation, we are left in no doubt: we have been in the company of greatness – and some of us have even been lucky enough to touch it.
Ticket information is available on the Assembly website.
Review by Keith D