EdFringe 2019 Review: It’s Miss Hope Springs

Drag superstar Miss Hope Springs presents glorious old school camp rich in faux-Hollywood nostalgia alongside playful original musical numbers in her Edinburgh Festival Fringe venture, It’s Miss Hope Springs.

Former-showgirl Miss Hope Springs (Ty Jeffries) delivers a mix of witty anecdote, musical number and audience interaction as she performs a triumphant piano set at Starlight Lounge (Assembly Festival’s Bijou). Dipping into her rags to riches Hollywood story with many a playful wink at the audience, the performer powers through a set filled with nostalgic original song and story. There is something delightfully old-school and playful about this hour-long set which is bound to be a treat with audiences.

Emerging onto the stage in a black-feathered bejewelled pantsuit, Miss Hope Springs delivers a performance rich in amusing nuance. From small mannerisms – multiple greetings of “Ladies and gentlemen…”, off-kilter pronunciation “Edenborough” to the decadent overwrought mannerisms that fill the show, she is an engrossing figure to watch and listen to. Embracing classic showgirl shtick, some gentle ribbing of the audience, and using technical issues to comic advantage showcase Miss Hope Springs as a seasoned professional.

Praise should also go to the wonderful constructed backstory that laces the show – chronicling the chanteuse’s trailer park upbringing with her mother Rusty Springs and grandmother Augusta Wind, to a short stay in France (leading to delightful musical number ‘Pigalle’). Time as a showgirl and a marriage to closeted husband Irving add further witty anecdote. This is a show rich in Hollywood mythology with Lena Horne, Frank Sinatra, Alain Delon, Walter Matthau and Burt Bacharach used in anecdotes which help craft Miss Hope’s persona as a star of the sixties and seventies. Creator Ty Jeffries displays a rich cultural knowledge which further enhances the comedy and the vaudevillian charm of It’s Miss Hope Springs – something perfectly showcased in Noel Coward riffing ‘Please Don’t Desert Us at Dessert’.

Jeffries’ skills on the piano are clear – as is his skills as a songwriter and musical performer. ‘Girl in a Million’ transports us back to the days of Bacharach and David with a woozy nostalgia, whilst the sultry ‘Zodiac Lover’ would not feel out of place on a Nina Simone album (this also leads to a very clever spot of audience interaction). ‘The Devil Made Me Do it’ plays with a blend of easy-listening and country, whilst numbers like ‘Carnival’ showcase a skill with ballads as well as nostalgic pop.

It’s Miss Hope Springs delivers nostalgic vaudevillian charm with its blend of skilfully-crafted musical number, camp anecdote, and joyously decadent performance. It’s an absolute delight.

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