You often hear of people who went to Edinburgh for years and years and then suddenly broke through. Michael McIntyre, for instance. Him, I was happy to wait for.
But the case of combustible New York singer Liz Merendino is a little different. She deserves the attention right now, and I’m giving her three star show four stars because she needs flagging up.
And she sang her heart out for just me and two other sad losers on the unfashionable side of town as if she was onstage at the London Palladium. George Street is a showbiz desert now that Assembly has decamped to George Square, but Merendino’s class and sassiness light a beacon for new songs and witty presentation.
Merendino travels the world with an inhaler and a bright wardrobe. She sneezes her way through Venezuela, gets picked up in the British Museum and measures herself favourably against Japanese men. She sings of love and asthma, talks to her mother and returns to New York.
It’s a sort of “Tell Me on Atishoo Sunday.” Her songs are beautifully structured and delivered with poise, clarity, full-throated purity and a Jacques Brel bitter sweetness. She sparkles like a little waterfall in the sunlight and you just want to scoop her up and take her home.
She is fortunate in her collaborations: some of her material has been shaped by Adele Anderson of Fascinating Aida, and her accompanist in New Town is the brilliant jazz pianist Warren Wills, who performs musical marvels in a most deserving cause. I’m the opposite of allergic.