I am so happy. This one is a goodie. A standing ovation, talk about it to everyone you know goodie. Kissed by Brel tops the list at number one and it’s going to be hard to beat. Claire Watling sings Brel, accompanied by Godfrey Johnson and directed by Geoff Hyland at the Intimate Theatre, 37 Orange St. I went with mother of Big Friendly (Big Friendly is away on biz) and we loved opening night.
I love the space. The Intimate is a small square box with a cute foyer/bar and a sexy wooden deck for pre and post show hanging out.
Geoff’s styling is apparent the moment you walk in, with gorgeous floorcloth, simple, stylish metal chairs and the piano in a severe straight line. And when the show starts, his design is brilliantly supported by the lighting.
Now, I am biased. I love Jacques Brel and have since I was a child. But I am also very picky about how his songs should be done. I also happen to think that if there is one person that can sing them it’s Claire Watling. And she does not disappoint. Ever.
Dressed in an unbelievably sexy shimmery grey dress and a flowing sheath of netting as a cape/veil Claire arrived on stage and from the first word she sang (which was Carousel btw) I started crying. I only stopped for the funny songs (which were hilarious) but I was still crying for her final rendition of If We only Have Love.
The choices of songs were brilliant and Claire (and Godfrey) matched that brilliance with variety, versatility, integrity and power. Am I gushing? Claire is masterful. She lets go, pulls back, is exquisite and vulnerable, harsh and strident, cute and cheeky, sexy and magnetic, shy and wistfull and unforgettable. Her face, body, arms and voice are magical and powerful instruments that are forever changing but always meaningful. She transported me.
My highlights were Amsterdam, If You go Away, Marieke, The Old Folks and Lovers, but I also loved everything else.
I can’t think of a single bad thing to say. It got the rousing standing ovation it deserved. Go and see it. It has a very short run. If you love Brel you will delight in it. If you don’t, use this as the best initiation possible.
Bravo Claire! Bravo Godfrey! Bravo Geoff! My faith is restored.