KISSED BY BREL A Brilliant Theatrical Cabaret

Sensational South African performer Claire Watling makes her UK debut, bringing her unique talents to London in the award winning show KISSED BY BREL, a new theatrical cabaret, celebrating Brel’s timeless relevance and enduring passions. Kissed By Brel runs at JERMYN STREET THEATRE for a limited London season from Tuesday 21 July  – Saturday 8 August; Press night  Thursday 23 July.

Almost 30 years after his death, the romantic lyricism of Jacques Brel’s songs has not lost the power to send shivers down the spine of an audience. Described as being as poetic as Bob Dylan, as introspective as John Lennon and as virile as Bruce Springsteen, Brel’s acute perception made him an innovative and creative painter of daily life with rare poetic ease.

A long-time standard of cabaret artists, South African performer Claire Watling is probably one of the few women in the world to perform a whole show of Brel classics.

Claire, with Godfrey Johnson (pianist and musical arrangement) bring an edge to a show that pays homage to the original while offering a fresh and contemporary perspective. The show is a diverse blend of musical styles and, with raw human emotion, each piece tells a story examining themes of love, war, adventure, broken dreams, being young, growing old and death…but never forgetting that life, with all its tragedies and complexities, shows us much humour.

The show has been performed in South Africa to rave reviews and has received 3 Fleur du Cap Awards after its performances in 2007. It is directed by renowned director Geoffrey Hyland.

Critics in Cape Town and Grahamstown have universally labelled the production a unique and singular sensation:-

“Watling in particular provides a virtuoso and deeply moving performance in which she does so much more than just give life to a couple of songs. The actress literally gives shape and movement to such wondrous songs as Carousal and others like the beguiling Jackie and the rancorous The Middle Class, using her body, face and all else including charisma to win one over in an emphatic and powerful display. At times it appears as if the actress is drowning in the music so invested is she in the emotion being expressed.”  Cape Times

“Watling is spellbinding!  Having heard Ute Lemper’s rendition of Amsterdam sung in English, Watling need take no prisoners.”  Brent Meersman – Mail and Guardian

“Brel’s songs have been sung by such luminaries as Nina Simone, Marlene Dietrich and Shirley Bassey, but Watling’s renditions (accompanied by Johnson on the piano) must surely stand alongside these. Her stage presence demands the acute attention of the audience to every gesture of hand and face, and the modulations of her voice are exquisite.” Chris Thurman – The Weekender.  



Tuesday 21  July – Saturday 8 August 2009
(No Monday performances)
Tuesday to Saturday evenings 8pm
Saturday and Sunday matinees at 4pm
Tickets £16.00 (£13.00 concessions)
The show runs for 1hr 10min, there is no interval.

16b Jermyn Street
London, SW1Y 6ST

Box-office: 020 7287 2875

One thought on “KISSED BY BREL A Brilliant Theatrical Cabaret”

  1. Would be more interesting to see what NON-SOUTH AFRICAN critics say. The review above is taken from the press release, which would obviously use such words as “sensational” where “mediocre” is more appropriate. My view: too much “style” too little substance. Pianist excellent. Singer sub-standard.

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