New to the cabaret circuit, this is Xara Vaughan’s debut at the Edinburgh Fringe and what a cool, classy, highly polished performance this is.
An early evening slot in a ballroom-sized theatre downstairs at the Freemason’s Hall is not quite the time and venue for such a show. But within minutes of hearing her sultry voice singing “Just in Time, I found you just in time,” you can imagine sitting in an intimate cabaret bar, drink in hand.
Accompanied by an excellent trio of drums, keyboard, bass, Xara, with her short, sleek blonde hair, dressed in a black tuxedo suit, performs for a seamless hour with hardly a break for a sip of water. She reminds me of Tilda Swinton - tall, slender, stylish, sophisticated.
It’s a romantic repertoire of classic ballads, musical numbers and pop songs from Noel Coward to Coldplay. The interpretation of each song is given a refreshing, contemporary edge, such as her resonating rendition of Diamonds are Forever.
In an instant, she can switch to a soft, storytelling style such as in Fix You, where each word of the poetic lyrics, (“when you try your best, but don’t succeed”) is dramatised with such emotion.
In between the music, we hear about her life’s adventures, from Stringfellow’s club aged 17, to becoming a Buddhist nun in an orphanage in the Himalayas and then playing in a punk band.
She is a natural performer, so at ease that she could probably turn her hand to comedy and acting. Certainly she has the vocal range to extend her cabaret show across all musical styles.
And so here at the Edinburgh Fringe, Xara Vaughan stands centre stage or sits on a stool, oozing effortless glamour as her glorious jazz-blues-rock voice seduces the soul with its heartfelt tone. Simply beautiful.
1- 25 August, 2013: 7.20pm. (not 5, 12,19).
Tue-Thur, £10 (£8). Fri-Sun £12 (£10).