Revisit France’s musical heyday without leaving London thanks to a new show dedicated to the art of the chanson at Brasserie Zédel. BOUM! C’est Chantastique will see performers Christopher Staines and Jason Carr bring classic tunes like Charles Trenet’s La Mer and Jacques Brel’s Ne Me Quitte Pas to a British audience next Monday (21 February) at the Piccadilly restaurant’s Crazy Coqs cabaret.
“When I first heard songs by these singers, they really struck a chord with me,” said Staines, a singer and actor whose stage credits include The Great Gatsby (The Arts Theatre) and The Music Man (Regent’s Park). “Their chansons still hold this allure for me of a world so near and yet so different.”
The show will feature fresh English translations of classic chansons, but there will be plenty of French lyrics to keep Francophiles happy, too. “The translations I’ll be singing are mostly new versions that I’ve cooked up myself,” Staines explained. “English translations of some of these songs exist of course. But a song such as Trenet’s La Mer is such a different song in French, such a different set of lyrics when you compare it with Beyond the Sea, as sung by Bobby Darin.”
Carr echoed Staines’ sentiments. “There’s a great challenge, presenting these songs to an English-speaking audience, in trying to preserve the flavour of the original versions, while wanting to communicate the narratives central to these songs’ lyrics. Christopher is meeting these challenges with passion, both as performer and translator, and I can’t wait to share these songs in the beautiful Crazy Coqs.”
And you’ll struggle to find a more atmospheric venue for such a show than Crazy Coqs. Its retro Paris-inspired décor and tempting cocktail menu will fully immerse you in the era of the great chansonniers.
BOUM! C’est Chantastique at Crazy Coqs (Brasserie Zédel) is at 7pm on Monday 21 February. Tickets are £20 with limited numbers remaining – book on the Brasserie Zédel website. More dates to be announced later this year.