London Festival of Cabaret 2014: Lauren Fox at the Crazy Coqs
This is just the case for Lauren Fox’s Love, Lust, Fear & Freedom: The Songs of Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen. The show, in London for the first time, is hosted by the Crazy Coqs, a small cabaret club under a brasserie tucked away in the heart of Soho. An usher courteously opens the door to let people in, revealing a little gem that by means of posters and melodies borrowed from the Art Deco period plunges customers back into that world.
Call it posh, call it sophisticated – the atmosphere is unmistakably elegant and aesthetically it perfectly suits the event in question, as if the scene was synonymous with that peculiar kind of happening. This considerably helps Fox’s performance, which, in spite of the praise received by organisers and critics alike, is a bit faltering. It may be due to the overwhelming emotions Fox feels and conveys on stage: this is undeniable, her zeal is palpable and constantly overflowing throughout the show.
Fox is accompanied by a pianist, a bass player and a guitarist. She presents two of her favourite artists, Mitchell and Cohen, telling anecdotes to introduce the songs that she performs. She is both passionate and talented. During Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye, which is only the second track on the list, the singer already gives way to some tears. Fox is so swept away that she forgets the lyrics to Night Comes On.
Technically her microphone sounds a bit faulty, and the guitarist gets a couple of chords wrong: however, the show slowly improves and the singer’s rendition of Chelsea Hotel is powerful, obliging. I’m Your Man is deep and full-bodied too – it features a bass solo that is a tiny delight in itself and sees Fox mingling with the spectators, trying to create a stronger connection with them and succeeding in the challenge, casting looks that are like spells. Hallelujah, reprised a in a slightly livelier version that resembles more Wainrwright’s cover is still haunting and Both Sides, Now sees the performer shifting pitches from the more crystalline voice of an earlier Mitchell to that of the woman that recorded the song in 2000 – arguably changed by her smoking habit.
Having both entertained and performed, Fox leaves the room forgiven for her unfortunate slips and with everyone pleased.
Love, Lust, Fear & Freedom: The Songs of Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen is at the Crazy Coqs until 17th May 2014, for further information or to book visit here.
London Festival of Cabaret 2014 is on until 22nd May 2014, for further information or to book visit here.
Watch Lauren Fox perform River here: