Statuesque, sequin and feather-clad, with a blonde bouffant wig that would have given Marilyn Monroe a run for her money, Hope Springs looks like a mix of Danny La Rue, Barbara Windsor and Barbara Cartland all rolled into one.
Springs entertains us with the tales of her life and unpacks her suitcase of musical mementos, tinkling on the keyboard as she goes. Once the toast of Vegas, but now down on her luck and highly medicated, but still draped in the sequins and feathers she fled the Pink Pelican Casino wearing in 1972, Hope’s tragicomic story weaves this act together.
With songs from Girl in A Million to Seedy Little Nightclub in Pingale to The Devil Made Me Do It, there’s no doubting Jeffries’ skill in writing comedic, rhyming lyrics. However, the genre seems to be of a cabaret-style much loved in the 70s, but considered somewhat passé these days. Cultural references to icons from bygone eras seem to be lost on the crowd, and Jeffries’ attempt to engage the audience by picking on some unsuspecting 30-something male in the front row only serves to alienate us further.
As his alter ego, Hope, Jeffries is resident at Le Crazy Coqs in London’s West End and has toured his award-winning show in both the UK and USA to acclaim, and for lovers of old-fashioned cabaret, It’s Miss Hope Springs will deliver an hour of entertainment. However, on this night Jeffries’ crass jokes fail to warm up the crowd. We may be ‘a small, perfectly-formed assembled crowd’, but our claps and cheers don’t seem to live up to Hope’s hype or Jeffries’ ego.