Clive Rowe: Rose’s Front Stalls Bar

Clive Rowe

West End musical theatre favourite Clive Rowe officially opened London’s new cabaret venue The Crazy Coqs with his lovely show ‘Rose’s Front Stalls Bar‘.  Read about the cabaret and the venue here

“..songs he either sang for Rose – or wished he had”

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Much loved award-winning musical artist Clive Rowe opened his solo show last night at one of London’s new jazz/cabaret rooms The Crazy Coqs at Brasserie Zédel. More about this venue later.

Named after a cockney barmaid at the Adelphi Theatre where Clive worked Front of House, Rose’s Front Stalls Bar depicts his career from those humble beginnings to the star of the West End he is today.

It seems Rose always loved to hear him sing and would invite (or command!) him to entertain the audience in the bar just before the show and during the intervals. His songs, needless to say, were frequently interrupted by the Front of House 3-minute calls – which became a running joke throughout the evening. The programme is a collection of songs he either sang for Rose – or wished he had.

Clive is renowned for his big powerful voice, but it should be noted that his quieter ballads too are very beautiful. Some of the most poignant moments of the evening were “Moon River” and an affecting medley of songs made famous by Adele. A sensitive performer, he adapts the power of his voice to the intimacy of the room, so that even belt numbers such as “Broadway Baby” are not overwhelming. And he got everyone going with a great version of “Putting on the Ritz”.

Clive’s patter became more fluid as the evening progressed. What would make this lovely show even better is a tighter structure, particularly in the first half, and better use of the song lyrics themselves to tell his story. The best link was for the introduction to a musically interesting medley of “A Foggy Day” and “A Nightingale Sang”. However, his clear expression of those lyrics, combined with that superb command of voice, made for a delightful evening.

Clive Rowe is an excellent choice to launch the official opening of this new venue. It is a truly stunning Art Deco room; originally part of the Regent Palace Hotel, and now painstakingly re-created from original architectural drawings. Cabaret is presently experiencing a long-overdue revival in London, and this magnificent space deserves audience support. What better way than to see Clive Rowe?

About Fiona Jane Weston

I am Fiona-Jane Weston and as well as being a performer myself (see website), I write reviews of and features on shows, mainly on the London cabaret and theatre scene. I have worked in theatre for many years, but decided to embark on a new direction in cabaret in 2009, when I produced 20th Century Woman: The Compact Cabaret. Not wanting to neglect my love of spoken word, particularly drama and verse, I made the conscious decision to include these elements in the programme, as well as wonderful songs, to tell the story of women's changing status and preoccupations throughout the 20th Century and up to now. I was invited to audition for the renowned Cabaret Conference at Yale, run by the late legendary Erv Raible, and that was thrilled to be one of only 26 accepted that year, where I was taught by the masters of the genre. Amanda McBroom (composer of the Bette Middler hit "The Rose" and the poignant "Errol Flynn"), Laurel Massé, original member of Manhattan Transfer, Sally Mayes, Tony Award nominees Sharon McNight and Tovah Feldshuh, and New York cabaret veteran Julie Wilson were all on the faculty. We were also treated to the musical direction of Alex Rybeck, Hubert Tex Arnold and the now late Paul Trueblood. With the benefit of their insightful teaching and great encouragement, I took my show to The Duplex in New York, where I was delighted with the response. Since then, I have produced Loving London: The Capital Cabaret, using the same format of songs, poetry and drama, in various London venues, including Leicester Square Theatre and The Crazy Coqs. 2014, the centenary of World War 1, saw the launch of Wartime Women: the Khaki Cabaret to a sellout house at St. James Theatre, London, garnering great notices, including from The Times and Musical Theatre Review. I have since been touring the show to Belgium and throughout the UK. I hope these reviews and interviews entertain and educate at the same time, and if please do leave comments in the box. It's great to engage in a conversation about the Arts. Fiona-Jane Weston
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