Miss-Leading Ladies at St James Studio Theatre
I was lucky enough to be invited to Miss-Leading Ladies on Friday 7th August. Miss-Leading Ladies stars brother and sister, Ria Jones and Ceri Dupree as they celebrate some of the greatest stars of stage and screen.
Ria and Ceri had me laughing from the off. Their welcome patter discussing Gypsy and the choice of song was very apt and the audience soon learnt what a stunning voice Ria had and a wicked sense of humour Ceri had. This show formation of each sibling dealing with a famous lady in turn could have become tired very easily but with these 2 at the helm that could not have been further from the truth.
Ria dealt with the big songs and the more informative parts of the evening and her Edith Piaf section received a standing ovation in itself. Ceri took a more irreverent tone, as one would expect from a drag act. Keeping up with Ria is no easy feat in the singing department but with a tongue firmly in her cheek Ceri not only kept up with Ria in the singing but had the audience in stitches. These 2 are the perfect balance to each other, my only complaint was that except for the very beginning and end of the show, the audience was treated to very little interaction between them. The interaction was so natural but witty that I would have loved to have seen more of it.
A mention must also go to the fabulous costumes and numerous changes! When Ceri was leaving after the first 5 or so min to, very vocally, undertake her first costume change this set the tone for the rest of the night. Part of the joy of the show was turning to see what she was coming out in next. Her Marlene Dietrich costume with in a white (faux) fur coat with a train to rival many wedding gowns deserved a curtain call to itself!! I did pity the usher that had to help her up and down from the stage! The lighting, by Ben M Rogers, was also perfect and for a cabaret space massively impressive.
The musicians, Edward Court (who also was the Musical Director and arranger) and Sally Peerless were used perfectly for this production adding to the cabaret vibe of the evening with their willingness to become part of the entertainment rather than just accompaniment.
This show will attract a very particular crowd and despite my love of the greats even a few jokes went over my head – suggesting I may be at the bottom end of the age range for their target audience. It is a show that to fully appreciate you need to know your Ethel Merman from your Doris Day but if you love your leading ladies from a bygone era then you are in for a real treat.
The show plays until the 30th August. Click here for tickets and more information.