Home » Reviews » Cabaret » Review: Dr Adam Perchard and Richard Thomas: Interview With The Vamp, Soho Downstairs, Soho Theatre

Review: Dr Adam Perchard and Richard Thomas: Interview With The Vamp, Soho Downstairs, Soho Theatre

On a night when most of London seem to be talking about and planning on watching the football, it’s a real tonic to step into Soho Theatre and be assured there’s no chance the show will be delayed to watch a sport I struggle to garner much enthusiasm for. As soon as the lights go down and Dr Adam Perchard takes to the stage in their wonderfully sequined jacket, I feel sorry for anyone squashed into a pub to stare at a screen.  Perchard commands the stage immediately, when we’re quickly assured that the next hour isn’t anything to…

Summary

Rating

Excellent

Flawless vocals, hilarious lyrics and a huge heart, this is cabaret at its finest.

On a night when most of London seem to be talking about and planning on watching the football, it’s a real tonic to step into Soho Theatre and be assured there’s no chance the show will be delayed to watch a sport I struggle to garner much enthusiasm for. As soon as the lights go down and Dr Adam Perchard takes to the stage in their wonderfully sequined jacket, I feel sorry for anyone squashed into a pub to stare at a screen. 

Perchard commands the stage immediately, when we’re quickly assured that the next hour isn’t anything to do with us. It’s all about them. Quite refreshing after a hectic day at work. What follows is an hour-long “epic queer song cycle’ that feels like 10 minutes. It’s a joy from start to finish. 

Perchard and Richard Thomas, the piano playing, interviewer, composer extraordinaire, have delicious chemistry, correcting each other’s very minor mistakes with warmth and humour. They have the most wonderful relationship that would make any performer envious. Despite the vulnerability of being on stage, the duo commands the space and have the audience on side from the very beginning.

The show is an autobiography told through the medium of song with lyrics by Perchard and music by Thomas, telling the highs and lows of Perchard’s journey from academic to vamp. It’s funny yet injects wonderful moments of melancholy when you’re not sure whether to laugh, cry, or leap onto stage to give them a hug. One song describes how they’re not sure if they’re putting on weight or pupating, ready to transform into a moth. It’s an ingenious way to address issues of body confidence and weight, causing laughs of recognition and acknowledgement, but never mockery, throughout the room. Another song talks about a nervous breakdown whilst lecturing in English at Queen Mary’s University which, although clearly a traumatic event, still manages to make us giggle. 

Their spoken word poem that is set to music is one of the highlights of the show. Pockets of laughter from various individuals in the audience are telling of the songs honesty, and it’s the brutal truths shared in Perchard’s performance that endears them to all our hearts, whatever our personal experiences. 

Whilst the performance and staging is simple, Perchard’s stage presence is so strong that they completely transform Soho Downstairs. With their shimmery, glittery gold jacket, glorious locks and perfectly timed lighting design, this production feels polished and refined. It’s a slick performance, this is cabaret turned up to 11. You feel in safe hands with Perchard and Thomas on stage, always a wonderful way to feel when at the theatre. 

Whoever you are, this is the show for you. It’s warm and funny, with a heart bigger than any England fan’s hope for a win. With vocals that wouldn’t be out of place at Les Mis down the road, Perchard is a formidable talent and paired with Thomas’ compositional prowess, they’re unstoppable. What a perfect way to spend an evening in Soho. 


Music by Richard Thomas

Lyrics by Adam Perchard

Interview With a Vamp runs at Soho Theatre until Saturday 13th July 2024. 

Further information and booking can be found here.

About Lily Middleton

Lily currently works at an art gallery, you might know it, it's in Trafalgar Square. When not gazing at masterpieces, she can be found in a theatre or obsessively crafting. Her love of theatre began with musicals as a child, Starlight Express at the Apollo Victoria being her earliest memory of being completely entranced. She studied music at university and during this time worked on a few shows in the pit with her violin, notably Love Story (which made her cry more and more with each performance) and Calamity Jane (where the gunshot effects never failed to make her jump). But it was when working at Battersea Arts Centre at the start of her career that her eyes were opened to the breadth of theatre and the impact it can have. This solidified a life-long love of theatre, whether in the back of a pub, a disused warehouse or in the heart of the West End.