Review: Miss Hope Springs, Wilton’s Music Hall

The sequin-clad cabaret sensation and ‘recovering showgirl’ was in her element, says Stephen Emms

Beautifully delivered, paced, and hilarious: Hope Springs Photo: PR
Miss Hope Springs, resplendent on stage in glittering sequins, is the creation of composer, lyricist and comic actor Ty Jeffries.

In this 90-minute show at iconic Victorian venue Wilton’s Music Hall, its loose narrative arc pretty much encompasses life: big hopes, “loveless marriages”, career wrong turnings and broken dreams. Quickly we learn about Hope’s (naturally fictitious) backstory, her anecdotes punctuated every few minutes by a suitably rousing number.

And, from start to finish, it’s a Brexit-busting blast, from tales about lost songs written by Noel Coward to an #awks romance with Liberace (or “Lee”, as Hope calls him: “he’s brilliant on the piano but he sucks on the organ”); not to mention about her old pal Goldie Hawn: “Why can’t people just look natural?”

The running jokes are always hilarious: that she’s “nearly 40,” that her husband Irving has run off with a blonde (Carlos); and that the three of them now share a camper van (“When Irving said he was getting a little camper I didn’t think that was possible”).


A young Hope with, um, Barry Manilow. Photo: HS
And yet it’s in the entirely self-penned songs that Jeffries’ remarkable talent shines so effortlessly. By turns careful pastiches of Coward, Minnelli, Bacharach, Manilow and Marlene Dietrich, they’re beautifully delivered, paced and performed pin-sharp at the piano.

Highlights are frequent: Pigalle – a key track for fans – is stuffed with good lines (“Come for cocaine and a quarrel”); Music To My Life is a genuine heartfelt moment (“You wrote the lyric to the music to my life”); and the excellently-titled Please Don’t Dessert Us At Dessert is the classic written by Coward for Hope when she was a showgirl “in the early sixt…seventies.”

By the time she’s belting out Trog – with rhymes like “he goes round clinging boulders in the fog” – the already rapt audience is in hysterics. And the finale, Hope’s theme song The Devil Made Me Do It, is so goddamn catchy I was still humming it making toast this morning.

Telly motormouth Jonathan Ross has, in fact, summed her up pretty astutely in the blurb: “The greatest star that never was singing the greatest hits that never were”.

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Miss Hope Springs plays Wilton Music Hall tonight (730pm) and then The Stables Milton Keynes on 14th July, with Brighton’s Komedia on 21st and 22nd July. More info and tickets here.

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