Tag Archives: Welcome to the Big Top

Welcome to the Big Top – 4 Stars


 Welcome to the Big Top

Live at Zédel

Reviewed – 1st October 2018


“a heartfelt performance that thrives off of an intimate setting”


With the lights dimmed low, the red velvet curtains looking plush, and the grand piano shining in the stage lights, eager to be played, it means only one thing. It’s show time. The Crazy Coqs welcomes New York cabaret singer Anne Steele to make her debut performing in our glorious city. Bringing over her successful show, ‘Welcome To The Big Top,’ Steele marries popular songs and original material together to personify and mark certain points in her life, offering personal stories in between. This makes for a heartfelt performance that thrives off of an intimate setting, being able to truly connect with the audience.

Entering in full ringleader garb, including top hat and whip, Steele opens with a high energy rendition of Britney Spears’ song, Circus, to whoops of delight from the audience. She later explains the meaning behind the circus-theme to the show and title. From starting out as a Broadway chorus line girl, to piano bar queen, to being an openly gay mum and wife, Steele feels her life has taken many unexpected turns, often juggling different roles within it, making it feel very much like ‘a three-ring circus’. Steele gives little titbits from her life to help join the music in the set together. At times, the stories can be rather tenuously linked to the songs, whilst other times, it helps give a song a brand new context – often with humorous results.

Mixing fast-tempo crowd-pleasers with heart wrenching ballads, and pop songs from the last ten years mingled with dance classics, there is certainly something in the set list for everyone to enjoy. Steele’s own compositions are some of the stronger numbers within the show, particularly ‘I Miss Those Days’ dedicated to a friend who unexpectedly passed away. The personal attachment to the song is evident and comes out through her voice.

There is no denying that Anne Steele is a seasoned pro, you can tell she has been doing this a long time – meant in the best way possible! Songs seem effortless. Her patter with the audience slightly less so, but perhaps that is nerves and uncertainty of performing in a new city and a new country. Compared to most British performers Steele comes across rather gushy and sentimental yet she is always completely genuine with it.

The small group of musicians backing Anne are a strong support, led by British New York resident, William TN Hall, as musical director on piano. With Hall’s arrangements and Steele’s beautiful knack of interpreting well known songs, they are able to make them sound like their own – occasionally bettering the originals. Welcome To The Big Top is a warm and intimate affair that will leave you with a smile on your face and a spring in you step.


Reviewed by Phoebe Cole


Welcome to the Big Top

Live at Zédel 


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

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