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La Poule Plombee review at the Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh – ‘utterly sublime’

La Poule Plombee at the Voodoo Rooms. Photo: Clive Holland La Poule Plombee at the Voodoo Rooms. Photo: Clive Holland
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Character cabaret can be a difficult trick to pull off, mainly because it requires the mastery of so many disciplines. Michael Roulston and Sarah-Louise Young have already established themselves across town as consummate, original songbook performers with Songs for Lovers (and other idiots), where ostensibly they play themselves. La Poule Plombee is a very different beast and while it has been around for a couple of years, it emerges at the Voodoo Rooms honed to perfection.

La Poule Plombee is a French chanteuse in the mould of Piaf, who nightly bears her soul on stage while terrorising her petrified accompanist. Stepping into the glare of the spotlight, knife in hand, La Poule sings songs of lost love but with a maniacal glint of self-obsession. She is so utterly self-absorbed that her band have escaped one -by one, leaving only the devoted Michael to soothe her ego.

Young is utterly sublime in this most perfect of parodies, drawing on every French cliche imaginable to lay flesh on the bones of her character. The exaggerated physicality and cod Gallic accent would be nothing, however, without a canon of songs to suit and between them Roulston and Young have created a literate and witty set that parodies a good deal of the great French songbook.

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Incomparable character cabaret replete with an equally strong original songbook