Kiss and Tell Cabaret

Sophisticated Satirical Cabaret & Operatic Comedy 

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Cabaret at the Fringe

Posted by kissandtell on August 17, 2014 at 12:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Our show Cocktails with the Diva is going very well. It took a good five shows to feel comfortable with new material in such an intense environment but we're into our final fabulous week at the Edinburgh Fringe.


We've had great audiences and  tremendous feedback on Twitter and Facebook. Word of mouth is that this is a clever, funny, entertaining show. This is reflective of everyone except... Fest Magazine.

Here at The Edinburgh Fringe Cabaret (justifiably) has a very broad interpretation. It can be anything from magic to Burlesque (what some would refer to as Variety.)

I'm of the opinion that as long as you do your craft well, to your best abilities, show thought and originality then you're at the top of your game (whether a cobbler, stripper, opera singer or a picture restorer.) What matters is that as an Artist you strive to be the best within your genre. 


Cabaret should also be taken within its context. If I am going to see East End Cabaret or Kit & Mc Connell, I will know exactly what to expect from each show and I will love what both of these cabaret acts from opposite ends of the spectrum have to give. They are both clever, exciting, push boundaries and harness their talent.  


So far our reviews have been complimentary, astute and fair. We've been praised for our "biting lyrics" and one four star review stated "edgier than anything I’ve heard out of a stand-up’s mouth this year" but this Fest Magazine review was just shocking:


"a slippery nipple is about as exciting as it gets"  (This being a quote from a cocktail in a song.)


This incredibly sexist remark demonstrates all that is wrong with the perception of cabaret, particularly at the Fringe. Cabaret is and should be anything expressive, controversial, shocking and importantly, politically subversive; it can be spoken word, theatre, song or dance.


This misinterpretation of an historic art form should not be banded about by ignorant twenty-something reviewers who plainly have no knowledge of what they are talking about and who are manipulated by the maelstrom.

Must we really promote mediocrity? Must I clamber over the audience, spray lager in their face and sing songs about wanking that don't ryhme in order to call myself cabaret? Our cabaret breaks the fourth wall and has many political messages (a key element of Weimar Cabaret.) 


Alas many here at the Fringe would say it is vital but if the outstanding Cabaret group Fascinating Aida and wonderfully talented Cabaret singer Sarah Louise Young (who to my knowledge are all fully clothed) is Cabaret than you had bet your bottom dollar we are too. 


For those of you in doubt. Here is Wikipedia definition of cabaret:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cabaret ;



Cocktails with the Diva

Posted by kissandtell on July 6, 2014 at 7:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Its so exciting!

Jeremy and I have been hard at it - writing songs that is and we have some absolute corkers for our new show "Cocktails with the Diva" which runs 1-24 August at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

New songs include : "The Edinburgh Drag" all about surviving the Fringe, "My Bad Cabaret song" about.. you guessed it... BAD CABARET, "We've been here before" a Weimar spoof about a woman who has lived nearly two hundred years, having had affairs with key artists and politicians and seen it all before and then there's SHAKE IT SHAKE IT SHAKE IT ... our signiture cocktail song for the show; whatever you do, however you feel....its always time for a cocktail. Snippits from these songs can be found on Our Songs on this website .

We're at the Assembly Rooms, George Street.

Here's the booking link

https://www.edfringe.com/whats-on/cabaret/cocktails-with-the-diva

  

Cheers !









Country Estates & The Pheasantry

Posted by kissandtell on November 20, 2012 at 10:40 AM Comments comments (0)

October and November have been very busy indeed. We had a sell out show at The Pheasantry and premiered two newly written songs: "Please dont invite me to your Country Estate" about the perils of staying in rambling drafty grand houses and also "A Foreign Affair" about a French Banker's wife who relocated to South Kensington in the wake of Hollande's new tax levy. These songs will be up on the website soon.

Meanwhile here's a pic of myself  with the band and our ever so querky accordion player and song-writer extrodinare Martin White.



The following week we were off to Stanage Park on the borders of Wales to sing for a shooting party. Thankfully this grand estate was devoid of rusty bath water, ghosts and leaking roofs. Instead it  had central heating and the hosts plied us with plenty of champagne, roast beef and wonderful hospitality in a recreation of Gosford park.

Fred the Shred and 1930's Zeitgeist

Posted by kissandtell on February 29, 2012 at 10:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Our latest video about Fred the Shred was shot in an afternoon at possibly my favourite London restaurant Brompton Bar and Grill. It was inspired by the famous Fred Astaire song One for my baby and one more for the road where Fred, propped at the bar famously  says "So I got myself in over my head and I had to get out thats all"

OK so its subtle but damn its good and Jeremy was happy because he got to finish my wine.

I've unwittingly hit the Zeitgeist of the huge 1930's revival that is hitting our screens with the success of The Artist, Midnight in Paris and Downton Abbey not to mention the latest Gucci iridescent flapper-style dresses on the catwalk.

If you don't believe me, why not take a little read of my latest article in Spears Magazine :

http/www.spearswms.com/spears-world/hedgehog/30487/silence-is-golden-once-more.thtml


The Despot song

Posted by kissandtell on December 23, 2011 at 8:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Spare a thought this Christmas for the fallen Dictator's mistress shopping alone in Knightsbridge.


"Where have all the Despots gone" was dreamt up in my bed on yet another insomniac-filled night but I realise that's when so many of my fun ideas materialise so I'm just going to have to give in to regularly falling asleep at 3am..

We worked the song in the usual process; I wrote out some ideas; lyrics, the form, angle and direction of the song and gave them to Lloyd Evans to work his magic. Lloyd came up with great twists and turns as well as the "Moussa Kousa" line (originally intended as final punch line) but it was worked into the song by Jeremy as the keychange (inspired).

Jeremy did yet more wonderful tweaks to the lyrics such as changing "you wore a flackjacket I wore a thong" to " I wore a flackjacket, you wore a thong" and building on  rhyming "hash" with "Johnny Cash"  and Shisha/ Aletia and "hashish cloud / Girls Aloud"- genius, our Jeremy ( but don't tell him I said that)...

I had the chorus buzzing in my head for days and sang it down the phone to Jeremy  late one night. Three days later he completed the desired pop song format.

"Jeremy" I instructed" It has to be cheesy cheesy cheesy."

"I'll see what I can do" he replied.

 

We first performed "Where have all the Despots gone" at the Pheasantry, Kings Road, London on November 23rd and a friend said it just had to be a youtube pop video. After some lucky sponsorship for the recording, I drafted up a shooting script with Neil Armstrong.

I've spent a lot of time in the Middle East on tour with various opera companies,passing the time in too many hotel rooms watching Emirates MTV, I remembered "Habibi" (meaning "Darling") featured heavily in all their love songs and there's plenty of slow fades, soft focus and flashback love scenes in the videos.

We recorded the song at Soho Studios with a great engineer who totally got what I wanted to do with the song.

Then I called my old friend (and colleague) Tenor Cameron Rolls to be my dictator. We filmed the video on 12th December in Knightsbridge and it was damn cold and we didn't have much time to film but my, weren't we lucky with the light!


Filming in the Bedouin tent (Robert Stephenson Carpet shop)





My friend Brendan turned up on his scooter to play my bodyguard as we sauntered in and out of Gucci trying a) not to get chucked out of the shop and b) to get a shot clear of the entrance clear of double decker buses. We then raced to Robert Stephenson's carpet shop in Chelsea to film the bedouin tent love scenes with Cameron. 

Then as luck would have it, another friend Paul who specialises in covering shotguns in swaroski crystals (don't ask)  said he could pass by for fifteen minutes with the appropriately named "Pimp my Purdey" shotgun.

I clearly have wonderful eccentric friends who gave their time for next to nothing and I'd like to thank them for that. It all came to life in the editing and this was done by Simon Thorpe who totally got the angle - It only took us six hours, alot of laughter and four bottles of Becks.

Thirsty work satire.


A singalong with Barry Humphries for Radio 4

Posted by kissandtell on July 13, 2011 at 11:10 AM Comments comments (1)

This Saturday morning (16th July ) at 10.30 am on BBC Radio 4 "Barry in Weimar" will be transmitted through the wireless into millions, um perhaps thousands of unsuspecting homes.

Well who should be a guest on this show but only myself with the wonderful Jeremy Limb at the piano. The recording was made in April and Lord knows why I didn't write about it earlier. 

The recording session was done at a friend's house in Belgravia (sorry for the location name drop but it's not my house) Barry, Hannah the producer, Jeremy and I were hard at it for at least an hour. All I can say is that Barry (without warning) graced us with the presence of the great Dame Edna herself. She was so funny I was reduced to tears of laughter. I was a wreck. Hannah the producer said it was best if I leave the room for a minute to compose myself.

 Dame Edna and I sang Spoliansky's "I am a Vamp" as a duet. Barry is a wonderful, generous comedian and it was an honour to work with such a legend. 


Melinda, Barry & Jeremy  


       


Intelligent Hay and Rob Lowe's head

Posted by kissandtell on June 15, 2011 at 11:08 AM Comments comments (0)

The 28th of May saw our debut at the Hay Festival . I borrowed a friend's car and drove myself, two authors, a poet and a cat from Kensington to Wales. We listened to  Dvorjak, Sly and the Family Stone, Prince and Radio 4.

Our concert went down a storm with about 200 people in the audience we were given a great welcome and a warm reception on stage. I love Hay-on-Wye - The festival was such a buzz, inspriring, exciting and everyone in good spirits. What an atmosphere and we ACTUALLY saw the back of Rob Lowe's head - he was on his way to a waiting helicopter. Not for him - a four drive on the M4 !

Then on Monday 13th June Jeremy and I performed to an audience of 850 at Cadogan Hall for an Intelligence Squared evening. We were the support Act for Maz Jobrani, the famous Iranian American Comedian. I must admit I'd never heard of Maz Jobrani but 5 mins googling told me this man is HUGE and very famous (oops)

I can also verify, Maz is a cool guy to hang out with too and he knows how to merchandise. Alas there aren't plans afoot yet for Kiss & Tell t-shirts or mugs but I will let you know when they go into production.

So far then, a good season for Kiss & Tell and the song I wrote with Jeremy "Toy Boy" was played on Desmond Carrington's show on Radio 2 last Friday - Hurrah !

 

Melinda and Jeremy perform at Cadogan Hall.

 



Photos by Mike Eleftheriades/Intelligence Squared

And we like sheep...

Posted by kissandtell on May 16, 2011 at 10:29 AM Comments comments (0)

BESTSELLER !


Last Monday I grabbed a coat dress, two bottles of Rioja (present for my host) and missioned it up the A40 to Hay-on-Wye, Trusted Camera man Neil Armstrong at the wheel.

We had one day to film our promo for the Hay Festival where I am performing with my pianist, co writer and general all-round Genius Jeremy Limb (dont tell him I said that).  

Tight budget, tight schedule. tight jeans from too much motorway chocolate.

As we arrived at the picturesque village of Hay on Wye ( middle of NOWHERE, border of Wales ) thunder struck and we were drenched within seconds. 

This isn't the place to sport flouncy dresses and kitten heels. "Damn I should have brought my Timberlands" I moaned as back at the cottage, I stuffed my sodden shoes with newspaper and placed them on the aga. This comment was sneered at by Mr M, my host / Writer /foodie and walking enthusiast who informed me  that Timberlands were a fashion victim cop out and frowned upon by real walkers. He was preparing freshly made nettle pasta with his home made pesto and I was drinking most of the wine as I could feel my cat allergy coming on.

My host called me a donkey - I cant quite remember why, but he called me a donkey TWICE. Perhaps it was because I asked how he managed not to get stung when making his famous nettle pasta. He mumbled something about "blanching" and "rubber gloves" 

I was joking you know. I know that blanching nettles gets rid of the sting.


Tuesday was filming day 2 and it had brightened up considerably. I was much cheered  by the sight of hundreds of spring lambs prancing about the hillside. A magical place Hay on Wye.  We had fun filming in the town. I sang loudly as I walked down the High Street on multiple takes much to the bemusement of local folk who, not realising I was being filmed thought I was either an escapee from the local loony bin, on drugs or "very happy".

In fact the staff of Booth's Books were placing bets.

Filming completed by 3pm, back to London, edited with online turn around at 12 hours.


BOOM!

Timberlands sit untouched in my wardrobe in London but I did manage to get my kitten heels re-heeled. Phew.

 

Neil filming sheep near Hay-on-Wye


Kisses from Beirut

Posted by kissandtell on March 14, 2011 at 11:23 AM Comments comments (0)

I’m writing to you form Beyt Meri, the mountains above Beirut, Lebanon where I'm  teaching a choir to sing and will perform with them in the final concert. This is the wonderful Al Bustan Music Festival - we have top musicians fly in from all over the world to perform; Gaultier Capucon, Valereiy Sokolov, Inva Mula, Nina Kotova and now, Tiblisi State opera will perform Mitridate under the baton of Gianluca Marciano.

Meanwhile news from London is that my CD “Smoke and Noise!” has reached the desks of radio presenters, critics and journalists and the first rumblings are good ones. Our songs have already been played on Radio Hafren’s “The Jazz Experience” show presented by Tony Wickham and next week I shall be a guest with Barry Humphries for a Radio 4 programme about Weimar Cabaret.

Yalla as they say in the Middle East – Let’s Go !

Bermuda Triangle

Posted by kissandtell on February 14, 2011 at 8:49 AM Comments comments (0)

Hurrah !

Im in lovely Bermuda singing at the festival - opera galas and and a bit of Tosca with Opera a la Carte.

Its finally brightening up and the good news today is that all the Artwork is finished on our new CD "Smoke & Noise" which comes out with Nimbus Records in April- see below ! So we will all have a dip in the rather cold sea then its off to City Hall theatre in Hamilton for our first night and hopefully plenty of Rum Swizzles to follow after.


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