REVIEW: Claire Martin and Joe Stilgoe at Crazy Coqs

Joe Stilgoe, Claire Martin at Crazy Coqs. Photo from Brasserie Zedel 

Claire Martin and Joe Stilgoe (Crazy Coqs, 26th March 2015, third night of five. Review by Sebastian Scotney)

What's not to like? The duo of Claire Martin and Joe Stilgoe at Crazy Coqs sing a mixture of familiar and less familiar songs to perhaps the most attractive music room in London. They are both entertainers who bring huge enthusiasm and experience to their craft, clearly enjoy working together, and are building a strong partnership. It's a great evening.

The sequence of songs seems to flow naturally. Charlie Parker's Billie's Bounce was there at the top of the evening for the pair to bring a bit of energy into the room- it needed it -, and to get an audience into the mood to enjoy themselves.

People who like familiar and great songs won't have been disappointed, with acknowledgments to Peggy Lee (I Love Being Here With You), Sinatra (You Make Me Feel So Young) For those who need the unusual song or two there  were Donald Fagen's Do Wrong Shoes, and Noel Coward's A Room with a View. And what holds the interest throughout is both performers' knack of finding another unexpected mood or texture within a song. I particularly enjoyed their way with the song which stood as the title or linking theme for the evening, Richard Rodgers' and Oscar Hammerstein II's It Might As Well Be Spring, and within it the words "I'm as busy as spider spinning daydreams," where there was a joyous surprise each time.

Joe Stilgoe brings a whole range of textures and sounds and variety and entertainment, with a tambourine, a mouth trumpet, a guitar, sibilants (in S'Wonderful), whistling, and the odd unexpected left-field lyric variation: I'm still pondering the rules of a new party game "Hide a Leek" (or possibly "Leak") which found its way into You Make Me Feel So Young.

Crazy Coqs is a great room. The sound is of very high quality. The staff are charming, discreet, impeccable. It seems a long long time since we first wrote about the potential of this room when it was being soft-launched in July 2012. And with a top-class duo like this in residence, where would you rather be?


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