What a voice, what a comic and what an entertainer! La Voix sashayed into the new cabaret zone of Wales Millennium Centre (Ffresh restaurant after the pre theatre dining has finished) and within seconds had the audience singing, clapping and laughing along.
Her accompanist on the piano also managed to throw in a few impromptu and clever gags to add even more fun and jollity to this disarmingly charming and heart-warming night out.
While La Voix is full of funny anecdotes, none of which I am going to repeat because that will just spoil your enjoyment when you take my advice and go see this marvellous entertainer, peppered with risqué comments, audience teasing and banter.
This is far more than the standard drag act, most of which leave me cold if not occasionally bored stupid, particularly when just lip syncing to a backing track and churning out the usual gay smut puns and double entendre.
La Voix actually has a clever and sassy show based on this occasional on not only impersonating the stock in trade divas, Bassey, Streisand, Liza Minnelli and Judy Garland, Cher but explaining how to capture their unique mannerisms and use these to capture the essence of the person. La Bassey, for example, stands on the edge of a steep cliff, has a partial stroke and sings without using any consonants. The following rendition of Diamonds are Forever is hilarious. For Liza Minnelli we have Mein Herr from the film version of Cabaret (where the young starlet lithely cavorts on, over and around a chair) but as the rather worse for wear diva is now, with side-splitting consequences.
Others are similarly caricatured but what sets this act out is that La Voix can actually sing. Some songs are beautifully sung rather than send ups and even when they are over the top in mannerism and gesture the underlying strong voice is always impressive.
I would have enjoyed just hearing La Voix without the make-up, wig (shocking red) and sparkly gown – perhaps how Danny La Rue use to at the end of some of his TV shows if my failing memory serve me correctly.
Hilariously La Bassey was also in town at a fund-raising event for a singing bursary but I am pretty sure I was in the right venue for a night I have a feeling the young Shirl would have enjoyed in her native Tiger Bay before getting all posh on us.
The venue itself is a great success. Copper trees line the walls (enabling a gag about the youth enhancing properties of the metal) and tables, friendly waiters and waitresses taking drinks and good value bar snack orders.
While I disappeared after the show others stayed to enjoy the ambiance and La Voix also changed into something more comfortable and joined her audience.
I am told La Voix was on a TV talent show recently which is presumably why she was booked but as I am one of the few people on the planet who do not watch these things for me this was all new and a very pleasant discovery.
This corner of Wales Millennium Centre has had all manner of incarnations (different restauranteurs trying to make a go of fine dining and even once a café popped up in one corner) but this format of pre theatre dining followed by cabaret shows at the end weekends seems to work well.
There is a season of cabaret-style live entertainment scheduled, so give it a try.