Tag Archives: Live at Zedel

Barb Jungr Sings Bob Dylan


Crazy Coqs





“the emotion of her delivery matching the resonance of the lyrics


It is often considered a brave choice to rework songs that, for most people, are etched into their memory by the original artist. This is probably most true of Bob Dylan, one of the most significant singer songwriters who, at eighty-one, is about to appear at the London Palladium. Barb Jungr is one of those brave souls who has tackled Dylan. That makes it sound like a challenge, but Jungr approaches the vast catalogue with a purer motive. It is twenty years since the release of her album ‘Every Grain of Sand: Barb Jungr sings Bob Dylan’. Since then, she has said that “my love for the work of Bob Dylan has simply magnified exponentially”. This love and respect rings loud and clear throughout her set at Crazy Coqs. If anything, she has more respect for the material than the writer himself. Iconic phrases thrown away by Dylan are picked up by Jungr and delivered to us with startling clarity, originality and passion.

After opening the evening with a swinging, jazzy, staccato ‘Tangled Up in Blue’, she slips into her role of raconteur. Witty, self-deprecating and unafraid to be ‘naughty’ she is a consummate cabaret performer as well as a fine singer. At one point (jokingly) berating her accompanist, musical director and co-arranger Jenny Carr for not telling her to “shut up and get on with the show”. ‘If Not for You’ follows – Dylan’s love song for his first wife; “written when he was happy” quips Jungr, “a very short period”.

Over the next hour Jungr mixes the well-known with the lesser known, the emotion of her delivery matching the resonance of the lyrics. Dylan’s genius, she points out, is that his songs – some of which were written decades ago – reflect the world we live in today. ‘A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall’ is sixty years old but could have been written yesterday and Jungr delivers it with a soaring intensity; a mix of fury and affection – that has us on the edge of our seats.

Carr’s varied piano arrangements reflect the diverse moods of the numbers, complementing the personality and poignancy of Jungr’s singing. From the gospel tinged ‘It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue’ to the bluesy ‘Mississippi’ and through to the gorgeous, almost whispered love songs, of which Dylan is the finest exponent. ‘I Want You’ is followed by the achingly delicate ‘Sara’.

As her hour on the stage is drawing to a close, Jungr knows we’re not going to let her get away without an encore. “I’m not going off and coming back on” she tells us before singing us out with the lilting ‘I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight’. Jungr is the perfect channel through which to experience the work of Dylan. Of course, in a couple of days you can catch the real deal at the Palladium. There are a few tickets left, so if you have a few hundred quid to spare you could gamble it on one of his famously unpredictable performances. Jungr’s show is far from being a gamble – it’s a sure-fire hit.

Critical opinion of a Dylan gig is famously divided. It has been said that ‘it is difficult to understand what he is doing on stage’, while he has been slated (justifiably or not is another debate) for rendering “the greatest lyrics ever written so that they are effectively unrecognisable”. This charge could never be laid on Barb Jungr, whose singing technique is flawless, passionate and respectful. A triumph.



Reviewed on 14th October 2022

by Jonathan Evans

Photography by Steve Ullathorne




Recent five star show reviews:


Diva: Live From Hell | ★★★★★ | The Turbine Theatre | August 2022
Feeling Afraid As If Something Terrible Is Going To Happen | ★★★★★ | Edinburgh Festival Fringe | August 2022
Mary, Chris, Mars | ★★★★★ | Edinburgh Festival Fringe | August 2022
Monster | ★★★★★ | Park Theatre | August 2022
My Son’s A Queer | ★★★★★ | Edinburgh Festival Fringe | August 2022
Ride | ★★★★★ | Charing Cross Theatre | August 2022
Sap | ★★★★★ | Edinburgh Festival Fringe | August 2022
The Anniversary | ★★★★★ | Edinburgh Festival Fringe | August 2022
Rehab the Musical | ★★★★★ | Playground Theatre | September 2022
Doctor Faustus | ★★★★★ | Southwark Playhouse | September 2022

Click here to read all our latest reviews


Off The Top With Jason Kravits


Crazy Coqs Live At Zédel

Off The Top With Jason Kravits

Off The Top With Jason Kravits

Crazy Coqs Live At Zédel

Reviewed – 13th January 2020



“He fills the intimate space of the Crazy Coqs with a low key, but dynamic energy”


Jason Kravits is a successful American character actor who obviously enjoys giving himself a bit of a challenge, because his cabaret show Off The Top is ninety minutes of improvisation taken from audience suggestions written down on slips of paper. Does this performing without the safety net of a full script work? Heck, yes.

Off The Top really begins while we’re settling into our chairs in the elegant, Art Deco inspired decor of the The Crazy Coqs cabaret space downstairs at the Brasserie Zédel in Piccadilly Circus. On the table in front of us are slips of paper and pencils. We are invited to drop these slips of paper into a fish bowl handed round by the master of ceremonies, on which we have written responses to “A Place,” “A Thing,” “A Short Phrase,” “Words to Live By” and “The Last Text Message You Sent or Received.” Then Kravits appears, creates a character made up on the spot consisting of an audience member’s middle name plus a place name, and jumps on stage.

Since his show every night is different, I won’t hesitate to give spoilers by saying that on this particular night, we were treated to the life story of the not-so-famous Matthew Discovery from Tulsa, Oklahoma (there were quite a few Americans and Canadians in the audience). Discovery himself is nattily dressed in a plaid suit with lilac shirt and purple tie, and while he draws slips out of the fish bowl to describe the circumstances of his early life in Tulsa’s “wet sock” factory surrounded by pussycats and lifeboats, we find out that this wannabe performer of the cabaret scene can really sing. With the backing of a nicely mellow three piece band (MD/pianist John Thorn, bass Jonny Gee and drums Sophie Alloway) Discovery might treat us at any moment to a Sinatra like riff on “health, beauty and love” or a song about Grimsby that includes fish and donkeys. A version of an “unknown” song by Sondheim is instantly recognisable. But the barnstormer is the duet sung with guest star Ruth Bratt as the couple fondly recall their attempts to connect given that she’s a bigamist attempting to become a “trigamist”. (What on earth was written on that slip of paper?) In short, Kravits’ show, based on the rough sketch of a performer following his dream, is a hilarious world tour that visits Tulsa and the Taj Mahal, with brief detours to Venice; Saskatoon in Saskatchewan, and yes, Grimsby. The climax of the story takes place in Croydon, naturally, during a street performance that almost gets the hapless Discovery arrested, while creating a major diplomatic incident with Canada. By this point the audience is breathless with laughter.

Kravits makes all this acting by the seat of his pants look effortless. He fills the intimate space of the Crazy Coqs with a low key, but dynamic energy. Sometimes he’ll slip the audience the side eye when presented with a particularly outrageous word or phrase from the bits of paper, but then he kind of mentally shrugs and launches into a vocal rendition liberally sprinkled with F words and S words anyway. He’s had us all in the palms of his expressive hands from the start. When we leave, ninety minutes later, his brilliant, made up on the spot songs are still on our lips, and our stomach muscles still aching from non-stop laughter.


Reviewed by Dominica Plummer

Photography by Danny Kaan


Off The Top With Jason Kravits

Crazy Coqs Live At Zédel until 19th January


Previously reviewed at this venue:
Dad’s Army Radio Hour | ★★★½ | January 2018
Liza Pulman Sings Streisand | ★★★★ | March 2018
The Clementine Show | ★★★★ | July 2018
I Wish My Life Were Like A Musical | ★★★★★ | August 2018
Welcome to the Big Top | ★★★★ | October 2018
Well-Strung | ★★★ | October 2018
Sinatra: Raw | ★★★★★ | January 2019
Randy Roberts Live! | ★★★★ | June 2019


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