REVIEW: Liane Carroll and Claire Martin at Crazy Coqs

Liane Carroll and Claire Martin
Photo credit: Crispin Southgate

Liane Carroll and Claire Martin 
(Crazy Coqs, 7th April 2016, third night of five. Review by Sebastian Scotney)

This show is billed as a first-time collaboration. That might be hard to believe, but it's really true. The initiative to do it, admitted Ruth Leon who does the programming at Crazy Coqs, came from the two artists themselves. Liane Carroll and Claire Martin's programme together absolutely works, and on many levels. It is one of those gigs which brings with it such a happy vibe, and where the artists seemed to be hearing the same, repeated, unsolicited advice during and after the show: "you should make a record together." Don't bet against that.

The show works in the first instance as entertainment. The joy, friendship, banter, respect constantly flashing across the stage between the two was of the kind to melt the cussedest and stoniest of hearts. The performance savvy of both women, and the clear sense that they enjoy each other's company was palpable.

And then there was the musicality and all the high-wire virtuoso stuff, which was faultless. Stop-chorus scat duets were perfect takes each time. But it wasn't all about display. There was real concentration and depth and poignancy, for example, in Claire Martin's singing of the Rupert Holmes song The People You Never Get to Love (an unfamiliar gem - LISTEN HERE), which held the audience completely rapt. Liane Carroll's own song You Don't Know me was also deeply affecting. Richard Rodney Bennett and Ernestine Anderson were also fondly remembered. Stylistically there was plenty of variety from twenties songs to Dusty Springfield.

There was a sense of completeness about it all, and never a single moment when one thought a guest would be necessary or particularly welcome. Liane Carroll's piano playing is so varied and musical and stylistically versatile, and both performers have such rhythmic positivity, they carry the show and give it constant forward momentum.

To divulge too much of the set-list feels wrong, like giving out too many spoilers. There are two more nights this week at Crazy Coqs. Thereafter, there will doubtless be many, many more. Yes it will, as the old saying goes, play in Peoria. This show is definitely going places. Get a ticket.

Liane Carroll and Claire Martin
Photo credit: Crispin Southgate

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