Last night we spent the evening in the company of the wondrously exquisite, the supremely divine goddess that is Frances Ruffelle as she played the fifth sold-out show of a five night residency at the Crazy Coq’s, within Brasserie Zédel in the heart of London’s west end.
The all new one woman show tilted ‘Paris Original’ follows Frances’ hugely successful ‘Beneath The Dress‘ and just like it, ‘Paris Original’ was a refreshingly honest, enjoyably rampant and lavish affair. The premise for the extravagant piece toured Frances’ personal love of all things Paris ranging from the glamourous, frivolous and fancy to the loneliness and heartbreak that encompasses life and romance within in the city.
Backed by a wonderful gifted and talented four piece band, Frances’ performance was wildly alluring – the ultimate showgirl redefined and extended her repertoire once more – the thrilling, varied, fast paced narrative journey zoomed urgently taking onboard the highs and lows of love and disappointment peppered with her own memories, anecdotes and tales which kept the audience attentive throughout the exploration. Frances assumed the persona of the cheeky, seductive temptress, the vampy vixen to the vulnerable lovelorn, broken and dejected woman. It was a breathtakingly honest and captivating performance that showed the natural skill Frances exudes within this setting – this type of performance is clearly her grand arena, her forte.
There was a relentless, effortless quality to the material chosen, which seamlessly wove French with English lyrics whilst offering mash-ups, interpolations, segues and interludes with style and ease – the tender and poignant clashed with the bold and unexpected. There were intimate nods to moments throughout Frances’ career too with the Edith Piaf song she sang for her Les Misérable audition.
As ever Frances commanded the space (and for one moment, my lap – aaargh – so exciting!), with great zeal and attacked with tenacity. Throughout, there was genuine, warm hearted humour, often poking fun at herself and her life experiences – the routine showed a free, infectiously spirited woman, one who is gloriously unafraid and boundless.
‘Paris Original’ was chic, enormous fun, exceptionally accomplished, well structured and delightfully conceived – there was a realness and earthiness combined with timeless glamour and sophistication within the entire performance which made for a joyously captivating spectacle and was utterly, completely gorgeous from start to finish. A dazzling triumph!