REVIEWS

 

 

“Shattering …..exuberant”  The Sunday Times

 

“The voice rings true on every number.  Kate Dimbleby captures that elusive stage persona, an ageless mixture of Snow White and Mae West.”  The Times

 

 

LONDON REVIEWS – 5th December 2000 – 14th January 2001

 

“Given Peggy Lee’s famous appetite for law suits, it takes a certain amount of courage to mount a show depicting her inner thoughts on love, life, illness and “profile management”.  Yet I suspect that the divine Miss Lee, now in her eighties, would approve of Lucy Powell’s monologue ‘Fever! The Making of Peggy Lee’.  Brilliantly performed by singer Kate Dimbleby and a nimble jazz trio.”

Clive Davis, The Times

 

“Kate Dimbleby is building up a big following with this engaging show in which she impersonates the coolly sexy, wonderfully versatile singer Peggy Lee … Dimbleby puts [the songs] over with rare wit, backed by a swinging three-piece band … the songs include such great evergreens as ‘Black Coffee’, ‘Is That All There Is?’ and ‘Fever’, the latter performed with exemplary cold fire by the delightfully pneumatic Dimbleby.”

Charles Spencer, Daily Telegraph

 

“Lee is brought to life in all her sultry, contradictory glory by Kate Dimbleby who gives a performance that ranks amongst the finest seen on stage this year.”

Simon Harrison, Morning Star

 

“If you want an ‘I was born in North Dakota in 1920’ approach to biography, this won’t be for you. But if you want to hear an extraordinarily talented singer perform uncanny imitations of the great Peg with passion, intelligence and flirtatious charm, it will be. Dimbleby’s voice is smoky and smooth and her stage presence almost frighteningly magnetic. Add in a razor-sharp three-piece band and the result is magic.”

Warwick Thompson, Metro

 

“Kate Dimbleby’s performance in Lucy Powell’s one-woman show is as generous and charismatic as the character she is playing. But ‘one-woman show’ in this case is a bit of a misnomer. It is much more than a monologue. The co-stars of the evening are the songs, brilliantly rendered by Dimbleby and dosed out with generous helpings of panache, abetted by a fresh-faced jazz trio who are so tight they are almost vacuum-packed.”

Mark Espiner, Time Out

 

“Kate Dimbleby has transformed herself into a reincarnation of the singer. With blond wig and a softly purring voice she is Peggy Lee, and not a look-alike or sound alike imitation, for she seems to embody the singer totally. There are snippets of Lee’s life in a witty and wicked script by Lucy Powell who tells us enough to keep us guessing about this talented, iconic figure. Kate Dimbleby has become a very poised performer and she handles the monologues and songs with complete aplomb.”

Michael Darvell, What’s On In London

 

“With a sassiness and sense of humour that cannot fail to please, Dimbleby proves that she is indeed one hell of a woman – ‘W-O-M-A-N’ …”

Scott Matthewman Gay.com UK

 

“Classic hits including Fever, I’m a Woman, He’s a Tramp and Is That All There Is? delivered by a sex goddess with deadly seriousness are worth straining the neck for. Four songs into the show Dimbleby has the spell-bound audience wrapped around her little finger. By the time she leaves the stage 30 minutes into the first half to mingle with her guests Dimbleby has convinced the house it has a star in its midst.”

Stephanie Condron, Hackney Gazette

 

“A fascinating history of the iconic American singer/song-writer, Peggy Lee … Kate Dimbleby sings beautifully, with a convincing American accent and just the right level of huskiness.”

Robert Streeter, Camden New Journal

 

“This is a breathtaking performance from the 27-year-old singer-actress, who, as well as recreating Peggy Lee’s greatest hits with jaw-dropping ease, copes with the tricky task of conveying an ageless iconic figure … Her band, the Julian Hinton Trio, provide more than adequate support. Dimbleby is also assisted by Lucy Powell’s intelligent script, which seeks the woman behind the saccharine lyrics and Doris Day-like wholesomeness”

Clare Radford, Highbury & Islington Express

 

“FEVER! THE MAKING OF PEGGY LEE makes for a fun night out – the production, as any should be, is greater than the sum of its parts. The audience, which spanned the generations, seemed thoroughly and happily entertained. As the real Peggy Lee no longer performs, this show is the closest you’re going to get to one of the most intriguing singers America’s ever produced.”

Jane Ambachtsheer, Theatreworld Internet Magazine

 

“With 18 classic songs, a talented jazz trio and the warmth of its star Kate Dimbleby, this is an evening of sheer fun and intoxicating rhythms.”

Stephen Beeny, www.rainbowarts.com

 

 

REVIEW: King’s Head Theatre, London

 

Just who WAS Peggy Lee? Seeing this show will not answer the question and nor does it try. It leaves you, instead, with glimpses, sidelong glances and the merest perfume of the singing diva, a stylist who very quickly learned what was required to get the world to work according to her design.

 

Kate Dimbleby as Peggy Lee has a voice of honey and a kind of perky self-assurance that is immediately engaging. She adopts Lee’s sassy cockiness and arresting sexuality in a completely un-21st century manner. Restraint is the word du soir – Dimbleby matches Lee’s tiny movements on stage flawlessly, flexing her hips or the crook of her little finger in ways that appear effortlessly casual but are in fact infinitely rehearsed. The show moves through vignettes of her life, but the dialogue is kept to a minimum to let the music itself tell the story. The deliciously warm ‘Black Coffee’ is a treat, as is the sardonic and lugubrious tune, ‘ Is That All There Is?’. The very talented Geoff Eales Trio accompanies very well, all of them engaging with the music in a way that comes across as smirky pure fun; bassist Roy Babbington has an ear-to-ear grin through most of the show that is very endearing.

 

I would have liked to see more of the kooky and intense side to Peggy; nonetheless it is a fun night of light entertainment.

Jeremy Haneman

 

 

Review: Kate Dimbleby, The Cocktail Hour, The Pleasance, Edinburgh

 

“Kate Dimbleby is, without doubt, a very class act indeed.  She has the kind of vocal and personal elegance that put the Kate into sophisticated.

 

Her band – who look as if their combined ages add up to less than Ms Dimbleby’s bust measurement – are really very good.  The show is a sort of themed concert with biographical links.  Kate, as Peggy (née Norma Egstrom), begins – in the dark frock that looks like a dressing gown – by explaining that she is going to tell us the story of her face, tells us she received no money from Benny Goodman, neatly interweaves references to her litigiousness with a cheerful Mañana – the subject of one of those litigations – dispenses nuggets of advice like ‘always caress your consonants’, goes through motherhood to pneumonia and leaves us with Fever.  By which time she has illustrated her metamorphosis by slipping out of the dressing gown to reveal a pink creation that resembles a sparkly topped, long skirted surgical support.  This is a lovely show, with lovely songs sung in a lovely voice.

“If you cannot get too much lovely, then this is the show for you.  As a concert alone it is accomplished, Peggy Lee’s trademark velvet vocals are in a style close to Kate Dimbleby’s own.  Her voice has the effect on a song that pouring over double cream has on a dessert.  But sometimes you find yourself craving a tangy raspberry coulis instead.

 

Ms Dimbleby is 100 per cent classy.  Ms Lee was a classy/sassy mix.  There was a lick of louche about the original that is missing here, for it is impossible to imagine Kate Dimbleby being louche.  She manages to make Is That All There Is? Sound positively cheerful.

 

Ms Dimbleby is a hugely talented, supremely polished, intelligent performer.  And beautiful.  Even glamorous.  But – like one of her most famous songs – Peggy Lee was all Woman.  And Kate Dimbleby is a Lady.”

The Scotsman, 7th August 2000