Last weekend, French cabaret singer, Caroline Nin was at the Adelaide French Festival with her performance “Songs and Stories or the Lido“.
From beginning to the end, Caroline enchanted the audience with her voice, her enviable long, slim, toned quintessential French legs that she flashed from under her glamourous, long, feather trimmed dress, and her stories of her time at the Paris Lido, which she declared is the most famous cabaret in the world.
She started her first days at the Lido wanting to pay homage to the German, Marlene Dietrich by performing a song in German. Everyone told her that would never happen at the Lido. As a compromise, Caroline gave herself the stage name Lola Lola. From there, her colleagues gave her the nickname Naughty Lola.
The nickname seems apt when Caroline asks us whether after performing 2 shows a day 6 days out of 7 you want to go home when you’ve finished your shift. Of course not!
Instead of going home, it’s nights into mornings spent in search of the next whisky bar or the next man. But a popular refrain over the next few songs is “don’t ask why”.
But going from one lover to another isn’t without heartbreak when you get too attached.
Telling us the story of a handsome man sitting in the front row of her Lido performance one night leads into the audience singing in the round for “laughs, good times, fun” in a rendition of “Hey Big Spender“.
Lola Lola explains that this man confused her by disappearing and reappearing as if nothing had happened over the years. Suddenly she announces that Johnny has followed her and is in the audience. With that, the lights come up and Lola Lola is on a prowl through the room in search of her Johnny.
At this point, she explains that this is often when everyone decides to admire their shoes, and as she walks past anyone with their head down avoiding eye contact, desperate not to be Johnny, Lola Lola simply notes “nice shoes“. Finally, Lola Lola finds her Johnny towards the back, having only just warned the women in the room that they weren’t safe from her search as she never said Johnny was a man!
Following an amusing confrontation with Johnny asking why he treated her so, Lola Lola returns to the stage for a rendition of a song known by all and infamous post break-up. That song familiar to all in English starts out in French. It is of course “I will survive“.
And the show wraps up with a song showing Caroline’s French but also her cabaret roots and one which accurately sums up her time at the Lido – “Non, je ne regrette rien“.
Caroline Nin had us in the palm of her hand from beginning to end and the only complaint of the show would be that it had to end so soon.