Peter Straker’s Brel (4 stars)

This article is from 2012

Peter Straker’s Brel

Belgian chanteur Brel’s life explored in song, costumes and storytelling

Jamaica born Peter Straker has been involved in British TV, music, and theatre for decades – he’s been in Doctor Who, collaborated with Freddie Mercury and starred in Hair and Phantom of the Opera amongst other things. In this latest show however, he pays tribute to the influential Belgian singer-songwriter Jacques Brel.

Not only covering Brel’s songs – ‘Amsterdam’, ‘Jacky’, ‘If You Go Away’ and more – Straker gives the audience a glimpse into the musician’s life. He immerses himself in the character, using costume, props and lighting to give a more theatrical performance, plus video and audio clips as well as telling his own stories about Brel.

Straker gives a powerful and energetic performance which the audience enthusiastically responded to. Although most likely to appeal to Brel enthusiasts or fans of Straker himself, it would be easy for someone with a knowledge of neither to enjoy the show, as the songs are likeable and catchy and Straker is a talented performer.

Assembly Hall, 623 3030, until 26 Aug (not 20), 6pm, £13-£14 (£12-£13).

Peter Straker's Brel

  • 4 stars

Hailed as one of the great singers on the British stage, a man who has recorded with Freddie Mercury and starred in the British production of Hair could only deliver a barnstorming performance of the songs and life of Brel. Straker is in full blown theatrical mode; in Amsterdam, embodying the darkness and menace in Brel's…

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