REVIEW: Andrew Pepper stuns with ‘House of Pepper’ at Crazy Coqs

Brian Butler April 28, 2024

Andrew Pepper’s one-man cabaret House Of Pepper is a chaotic, whirlwind of high camp, some low singing notes and just tons and tons of fun.

His opening is a mishmash of fast paced dialogue and snatches of songs, and as he tells us in one of many innuendos: “It’s 30 days since I sniffed around your parts.”

Let The Good Times Roll and Let Me Entertain You get a short airing and then it’s ballad time, with touching lyrics like: “There must be one sort of decent guy out there,” although he subverts the pathos by having a gloved false hand on a stick for the audience to shake.

There’s more or less continuous piano accompaniment under his dialogue and the lead into songs, and it make the experience a fluid, carefully structured performance where everything, however crazy or left field, has a purpose.

He renders the Adele ballad When We Were Young with tenderness and real emotion – it’s a showstopper for me.

There’s plenty of Jacques Brel for aficionados, but Pepper can switch in an instant from soft lyrical sound to full-on operatic.

He reminded me in style and delivery of both Marc Almond and Charles Aznavour, and just when you think you’ve got the measure of his crazy antics, he gives us Padam Padam as, he tells us, Kylie gave it to him.

But the stunningly powerful, quick witted, fiendishly fast Brel song Carousel is where Pepper truly shines. It’s amazing stuff.

And as we whirl round on Andrew’s crazy carousel – I for one didn’t want to get off.

There’s great accompaniment from Alex Maynard (piano) and Tristan Butler (drums), who miraculously maintain Pepper’s mad momentum.

House of Pepper is at Crazy Coqs on 19 May, 16 June, 21 July and 8 September. Tickets HERE