Blackpool pleasures in Soho: David Hoyle Unplugged at the Soho Theatre

David Hoyle David Hoyle - Stevenio Cheshire
Posted: Mon Aug 1 2011

David Hoyle's new show sees the cabaret star taking a turn for the musical. He tells Time Out about some of the inspirations behind his set list

David Hoyle's shows are famed not just for their ferocity but for their formal abundance. As well as biting commentary, you'll see film, painting, abstract shapes and songs in the line-up. In his run at the Soho Theatre from August 6-20 2011, Hoyle puts singing at the heart of his act for the first time, to deliver a pared-down show with fewer fireworks but, we hope, no less soul. Here, he tells us about some of the numbers on his set list…

'I feel I've grown up, fallen apart, the lot - and all in public. This show is a declaration of both where I am now and our mutual concerns and battles, especially when it comes to human rights, the personal against the political and our search (well, some of us, anyway) for love and some kind of loving-happiness, however unlikely and seemingly unobtainable.

'The songs collectively tell some sort of story: from okay to devastation and back again. They illustrate a life lived - not an easy life, and I've sure been good at attracting trouble, perhaps both real and imagined. That is the beauty of song - uniting the fantasy with the grim reality, a Hadron Collider of emotion. However, there's also a sense of reflection, pausing to perhaps embrace a different tempo for what remains of my life.'

'Losing My Mind'
'I'd say I've given mine away a long time ago! This is a hymn to the twin poltergeists of obsession and insecurity inherent in so many of our “relationships”.'

Blackpool Medley
'This acknowledges my Blackpool roots - if you haven't heard a high-powered medley played on Blackpool Tower Ballroom's Wurlitzer, you haven't lived! There are some good examples on YouTube. It can also lead to interesting juxtapositions of songs and consequent trajectory. Dramatique!'

'A Return to Trauma'
'This is a group work. [Director] Nathan [Evans] took away pages of my writings and distilled them into this jolly romp. Then [songwriter and accompanist] Michael [Roulston] worked with Nathan on the musical framework. With Dusty Limits involved as my vocal coach, I am fortunate to be part of a show with the excellent support of these exceptional musical maestros.'

'How Can I Entertain?'
'I am revisiting this song which featured in a show I did at the Chelsea Theatre, also directed by Nathan. It's one of my favourite songs from the excellent album by Tony Christie, “Made in Sheffield”. It has a very compelling emotional thrust that appeals to me - the terminal romantique! Plus it's sung from a performer's perspective and that sentiment resonates deeply with me.'

'Hurt'
'Again, this came from an earlier show directed by Nathan - we're building quite a repertoire. Its lyrics cannot be faulted and maybe we all should have a stab at it at least once.'

'True Faith'
'Very Northern and great storytelling. I get a sense of disillusion from it - a feeling we're ALL familiar with.'

'You Made Me Love You'
'How could I not perform “You Made Me Love You”? I love working on the presentation of this song with Nathan as he'll always suggest different approaches to it.'

'I'm sure that there'll be songs created in the moment and Michael and myself are working closely together to create a synthesis where there's room for the spontaneous and the improvised. This show is a huge milestone for me and I intend to give it my all! It's the closest one can get to Blackpool's Summer Season in London's glittering West End! Celebration and contemplation - who could wish for more?'

David Hoyle Unplugged is at the Soho Theatre, Sat Aug 6-20, 2011.