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JIM BAILEY AS STREISAND - By Tony Patrick (taken from The London Times)
Jim Bailey is to female impersonation what Mr. Spock is to alien
life-forms: its drag. Jim, but not as we know it. Bailey describes
himself as a character actor or an illusionist. On this London visit
he combines a fine, trained voice, a gift for vocal mimicry and high
skill in maquillage to produce Barbra Streisand and Judy Garland (on
different evenings). On previous visits he has conjured up Marilyn Monroe,
Peggy Lee and Madonna.
His Garland and Monroe were studied from life. Despite the accuracy of his presentation from the flawless symmetry of the hair to the birdlike precision of the gestures for a moment after he swept on to the stage of the Green Room the doubt persisted. But the voice is the clincher: rich and powerful, with the authentic, no-vibrato-unless-she-wants-it ability to stretch a note and turn a syllable for dramatic effect.
illusion is maintained in slow songs (Cry Me A River, The Way We
Were), belters (Somethings Coming), soft ones which
turn into belters (People), and showstoppers (Secondhand Rose).
It is even there, spookily, in the chatter between songs, down to the
half-suppressed giggles and self-deprecating asides. Clearly, Bailey
becomes his subject for the duration.
Wednesdays crowd was clearly in his thrall, delighting in the
presence of a diva. After all, doesnt Streisand go to his shows?
Did she not commission a private concert from him? Did she not, as he
is quoted as saying, incorporate aspects of Baileys Streisand
into her own act when she returned to performing last year?
for devotees, if you cant get Streisand, who has a real life to
lead and tiresomely refuses to spend all her time on the road, Bailey
offers a superstar who will never let you down, will happily sing all
her hits and remains forever as you remember her.