So Sarah has been on the road solo with my backing tracks for some years now. And we all know what small scale touring does to you, esp. if you are touring little theatres and Travelodges alone. To make amends we hatched the plan to create a show involving the two of us, with some new songs and witty banter. And all live! Good idea.
Then the Union Theatre sent out a call for acts for their Gold Season. And there some big names such as Nigel Richards on the bill. Great. We did a show of two halves, entirely of numbers we had written together. The first was songs that we felt SL could sing as herself. The second, numbers form Cabaret Whore that we felt could work with just piano. And we had a great time. The Union is a fantastic Venue. Ideal for small intimate events. And their digital grand was lovely to play. The hazer helped too.
My colleague Harold Sanditen was pretty ecstatic about it:
Sarah-Louise Young (vocals) and Michael Roulston (piano and backing vocals) delivered a show of all original songs written by them, some only hours before the performance! It is without a doubt one of the funniest and most exciting cabaret shows I’ve seen!
The evening began with a set entitled “Songs for Happy Cynics.” It was clear from the get-go that Young is a charming performer, with a lovely voice and terrific energy. The cynicism the two covered included not falling in love, proselytizing through the ministry of cabaret, the celebration of being a sheepish Brit unable to verbalize what you’re really thinking, ways to off yourself, how a happy childhood “fucks up” your chances of winning a talent show, the sadness of dining alone, how an overly talkative date or partner can ruin things and, the best song of the set, their Eurovision Song Contest entry—if there really was to be one—“I Don’t Really Care,” an utterly hilarious take on one of our biggest British obsessions. The two have managed to not only provide incredibly interesting music, but hysterically funny lyrics. They came a bit too fast and furiously to get quotes, but trust me, you’d be in stitches listening to them.
The second set was a different game, with Young inhabiting two characters she created for her Cabaret Whoreshow. Her characterization in both instances was stupendous. These are absolute comic tours de forces. The first, Sammy Mavis Junior, white trailer trash with big red hair and a personality to match, was a real hoot. Her three songs were full of sexual innuendos and double entendres, which had the audience doubled up with laughter. In a matter of moments, offstage she switched seamlessly to La Poule Plombée (the frumpy pigeon), a Piaf-esque character full of French angst and one of the best observed comic performances I think I’ve ever experienced. Young has every intonation and nuance down to a tee. Her vocals and accent are impeccable. The humor of “Je suis artiste” has La Poule explain she could sing for us for the rest of her life… but she doesn’t want to. It’s just sooooooo… French.
At the end, the enthusiastic audience demanded two encores. It’s clear, nobody doesn’t like Sarah-Lou! Keeping with the humor, La Poule told us they didn’t have an encore, and, in fact, there’s not even a word for it in French.
Roulston flexes his muscles with his fabulous keyboard skills and plays the dry counterpoint to Young’s exuberance.
This is one über-talented cabaret duo. It’s an evening so worth seeing, I hope Young and Roulston bring it back soon. It’s really not to be missed, whether you’re a cabaret aficionado or not. You’ll have a belly laugh, and leave with a huge smile on your face. Guaranteed.