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Alison Jiear at Pizza On the Park

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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As nights out in the capital go, it's difficult to beat an excursion to the newly refurbished Pizza On the Park to munch on dough balls and be serenaded by the superlatively talented Australian cabaret singer Alison Jiear.

Jiear, best known to London theatregoers for her role as wannabe pole dancer Shawntel in Jerry Springer the Opera, hits you like a tidal wave of loveable charm from the off. Her repertoire is a skilful blend of pop and show tunes, highlights including a soulful cover of Rascal Flatts' “Bless the Broken Road”  a belting rendition of “The Story Goes On” ( from Baby the Musical) and her ode to the “queen bee” of torch singers, “Streisand Got There First!”.

Only once does she unleash her feather boa-clad 'alter ego' for a rendition of the gloriously out of tune (and Jiear signature piece) “One Note Tango”. This is not an evening of raucousness, but a gentler exposition of nuanced vocal work and equally note-perfect comic delivery. There is pathos aplenty, as she dedicates a sweetly subtle version of Nat King Cole's “Smile” to the recently deceased Australian comedian Ernie Bourne.

Supported by Clive Dunstall on piano, Sam Burgess on bass and a gurning Mike Smith on drums, the set passes in the blink of an eye and by the time a pared down version of the Beatles' “In My Life” has put a fitting full-stop on proceedings, you climb out onto the street as if emerging from a dream.

An all-over massage for the soul.


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