The Velma Celli Show*** (Hippodrome, 17 May 2013)

Posted: May 18, 2013 in Theatre

After 40+ years in London, a first venture inside the Hippodrome. Peter Stringfellow is long gone and the place is now a miniature Las Vegas style casino with a cabaret lounge and, arguably, the best men’s room in town. Velma Celli is the alter ego of musical theatre performer Ian Stroughair, who, decked in a flowing red wig, conjured up images of John Malkovich playing the lead in a live action re-make of “The Fantastic Mr Fox”. The first half consisted of a fairly predictable choice of numbers – four by Kander & Ebb, two associated with Shirley Bassey – performed with appropriate pzazz. The second half was mostly contemporary pop and Ms Celli gave way more often to other performers who were, to be quite frank, a lot better. Pretty average overall, but average entertainment becomes a lot more palatable when sipping cocktails, so who’s complaining? A fun evening.

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