I don’t see there being much point in writing a long and detailed review of Alan Cumming’s one man show, I Brought a Blue Car Today it is one of those events that if you weren’t there to witness it, then there isn’t much point in reading about it. (This makes me ponder all reviews that I write now, and how is there any point of reading them if you won’t actually see the show… hmm..) But anyway, the point for this is quite simply: I don’t think it would be possible for me to relay the show in a manner that get’s across what Cumming managed.
However for the sake of this review I’ll try. Faced with a bare stage, an odd assortment of a band, and a single mike stand I Brought a Blue Car Today is simple. A cross between a one man cabaret and this is your life moment. Cumming sings very casually, and at times very emotionally songs that will be appearing on his new album entitled the same as the show. He gives us glittering moments of his life now living in America, his relationship with his husband, and star struck moments through his equally glittering career.
Cumming is not getting any younger, this is evident from his slightly strained voice, his casual clothing and ever-growing wisdom of stories. But the thing is, Cumming isn’t trying to be anything than himself. This show isn’t about standing up and shouting to the rafters that he is Alan Cumming, the one and only… it is more a subtle invitation into a charming, amusing, sensitive and beautifully presented man who happens to like to sing, be a bit cheeky and shows an enduring love for his partner.
Singing a collection of show tunes he has done over the years, including a very dark and sinister Mein Heir from the hit broadway show Cabaret and other amusing songs such as a Victoria Wood piano/voice song, and an equally amusing song titled, Latte Boy. Whilst Cumming has a certain way of singing that doesn’t really change from song to song, it is his way of conveying the songs themselves that seem rather entrancing.
Little life stories with meeting celebrities such as Whoopie Goldberg and being snapped and published in newspapers with Mika (and being accused of getting down and dirty with Mika too…) dot the show between songs and give quite a few laughable moments.
My only criticism of the whole night is actually aimed at Nimax Theatre’s for their prices on seats. For a Friday night performance and ticket prices as high as they were it was perhaps no surprise that even in the cheaper seats (as I was) there were still several hundred seats available around me… But then again £25+ a ticket, what do you expect?!
I Brought a Blue Car Today is nothing more than Alan Cumming being himself, and doing it with an energy of someone who is truly talented and London will gladly welcome him back with open arms should he choose to return.
Alan Cumming’s debut album I Brought a Blue Car Today is out on 22nd September 2009, and is an eclectic mix of show tunes and collaborative songs. Unfortunately the one man show of the same title has now finished it’s run at the Vaudville Theatre, London.