FRINGE REVIEW – French Kiss

*****

Though it may lean towards the more genteel side of the cabaret section, Melinda Hughes nevertheless presents an enjoyably frothy 50 minutes of musical wit and satire in French Kiss.

Backed by an accomplished trio of musicians on keys, double bass and drums, Melinda and her songs about treble-dip recessions and holiday hotspots from hell tip a knowing wink to the stylings of Gershwin and Coward, with clever lyrics and arrangements which ensure they still sound current and topical.

This is aided no end by Hughes’ vocal delivery. A classically trained opera singer, her cut-class diction and effortless projection suits her onstage persona of a Sloane Ranger forced to shop in Asda instead of Harrods food hall. It also ensures that the witty lyrics are never lost in a venue not exactly designed for its acoustic qualities.

Between songs, Hughes delivers anecdotes and observations on her own life, including falling for the charms of her very own ‘Frog Prince’, hence the show title. Though not essential, these are pleasant and affable enough and give a thread of cohesion to the set.

French Kiss will appeal to those who have fond memories of Kit & The Widow and – despite the inclusion of an obligatory ukulele — is definitely more lounge than cabaret. However, as a soupçon of Gallic-infused light entertainment, it is easy to recommend.

French Kiss is at theSpace @ Surgeon’s Hall at 20:20 until 10 August.

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