Kit and McConnel “In Cabaret”

Kit and McConnelAfter 30 years, Kit and the Widow (Richard Sisson) have gone their separate ways and now Kit Hesketh-Harvey and James McConnel have created a new show and are playing at The Crazy Coqs.

Kit and James Accordion

“..a show packed with wit..”

 Kit Hesketh-Harvey and James McConnel are old friends and worked together in the 1980’s on Vivien Ellis Award winning musical ‘Orlando’. Not long after, the pair were invited to study Musical Theatre with Stephen Sondheim at St Catherine’s College, Oxford. James also wrote for Kit and the Widow and tells me he “..always had an eye on the Widow’s job..”. Well, now he’s got it. After 30 years, Kit and the Widow (Richard Sisson) have gone their separate ways and this show was initially put together for the Edinburgh Festival.

Kit and McConnel opened their piece ‘In Cabaret’ at The Crazy Coqs last night and it was, needless to say, very different fare from the usual Crazy Coqs show, with their up-to-the-minute wry sideways look at current political and social morès.

It is similar in format to Kit and the Widow with a collection of amusing lyrics written and for the most part delivered by Hesketh-Harvey set to a musically interesting variety of tunes, and inevitably, some work better than others. There was a swipe at Jimmy Saville, a very funny dig at Nandos and a song theorising on all the scissors etc confiscated at airports.

There was one serious note with a touching song about an acquaintance known to Kit who was blown up in Afghanistan questioning “…how does this end?”

Of course, the mood was never going to be allowed to stay sad, and hilarity was soon restored with a wonderful musical improvisation on an audience member’s name by James, and in a show packed with wit, other standout numbers were a biting satire on Nick Clegg and the LibDems, a song on the ‘wrong Milliband’ set to a soft swing and a great Noel Coward-esque cha-cha called ‘Get A Room’. I also loved the sing-along on Berlusconi .

This new partnership is already gelling well, and it will be interesting to see how the act develops over time. With James’s classical training and musicianship, I can see more jokes of a technical musical nature on the scene, which could indeed form a stamp unique to them.

This is a fun night and you should definitely go and see itKit and McConnelrong>.

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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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One Response to Kit and McConnel “In Cabaret”

  1. Pingback: Bounder and Cad | Capital Cabarets And Shows Scene

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