Brighten up those dull days between Christmas and New Year with a trip to Live At Zédel to see to sparkling two dames of the showbusiness world, Boyz favourite Miss Hope Springs, comedy creation of Ty Jeffries, and the fabulous Rula Lenska. We caught up with this delicious double act ahead of their gigs to find out more.
Hi Ty and Rula, are you both looking forward to Christmas?
Rula: Yes, hugely. It’s a special family time of the year. As Poles we celebrate on Christmas Eve and we sing carols and open our presents under the tree. We eat traditional Polish food too, such as beetroot soup and fish. It’s always a great time of reminiscing about one’s youth, and now the special treat of seeing it all through my grandson’s eyes, so the magic is doubled.
Ty: I know what Rula means. I get so excited by the pretty twinkling lights and general festive vibe – I love anything sparkly, as you can probably imagine. I guess I watched way too many black and white Hollywood movies back in the day. They always did great Christmases and I suppose in my imagination it should all be very MGM circa 1940, but sadly it usually isn’t! Try spending Christmas in the Travelodge in Balham and you’ll find out.
Can you tell us how and when you two first met?
Rula: I first met Ty at a burlesque show through mutual friends a few years ago. He then invited me to see his Miss Hope Springs show at Live at Zedel and I was of course totally blown away by his playing, singing and the incredible original songs he writes. I’ve been hooked ever since. He then asked me to do a number with him one night and we have become best friends. I think he is a genius, totally unique, and I love him.
Ty: That’s right, gosh, I think it was about five years ago now. How time has flown! We hit it off straight away. Rula is one of the warmest, most open and friendly people you’ll ever meet. And we have a lot of laughs. She’s so talented, whether doing comedy, musical theatre or serious drama, with so much charisma. Besides, she is also the only person in showbiz with a voice deeper than mine. She almost makes me sound like a soprano!
And how did you end up performing together?
Rula: As I said, Ty invited me to do a fabulous comedy number he wrote especially for me and hoped to do as a double act. And then he also started talking about creating a one-woman show for me, which we’re currently piecing together. The first night I performed with him I was nervous and felt way out of my depth, but
it was the most enormous fun. Since then we have performed quite a few times together at Zedel, the Chelsea Arts Club, and a couple of charity galas.
Ty: She and I really spark off each other. Rula has such glamour and brings something totally unique to the stage. She strikes such an elegant figure, with all that Polish nobility oozing out of her, and she’s a great foil for Miss Hope Springs’ home-spun ‘trailer trash made good’ take on things. Although she has far longer, better legs than me, for which I hate her. Rula sounds like Marlene Dietrich with that smokey growl. She also has a great sense of comedic timing and physical comedy too. We are quite the non-matching pair.
What can we expect at the Live at Zedel shows?
Rula: A bit of craziness, a lot of humour and hopefully something that the audience will love and equate with. He’s such a clever writer as well as a performing star.
Ty: Stop it, Rula! I’m blushing. Rula is doing three of my original songs in the show. It’s an expansion of the ‘No Accounting for Taste’ song I wrote for us to do a few years ago – a sort of acerbic ‘Bosom Buddies’ kind of number. It’s really the first steps towards an entire evening of personal stories and original songs that I am working on for her, the beginnings of a one-woman cabaret. There’s my rather touching song ‘Youth (Is Wasted on the Young)’, which she does beautifully, and we do a number ‘Good If You Got It… But Not if You Just Give it Away’, which, I suppose, is a vintage Vegas take on being a couple of financially prudent sex workers.
Rula, you have performed with many wonderful singers and musicians, how does Miss Hope Springs compare?
Rula: Never have I performed with someone of this calibre. Knowing Ty, and through him Miss Hope Springs, has been an eye opener in many ways. As you may have guessed by now, I am a huge fan and in awe of his/her talents.
Have you ever sung any Rock Follies songs since the show? I could hear you and Hope doing ‘Glenn Miller Is Missing’…
Rula: No I haven’t. I have sung a bit, namely in Sondheim’s ‘A Little Night Music’, the iconic ‘Send In The Clowns’ and in many pantos… Now, as Ty said, I growl rather than sing, but somehow I think we manage to make it work. I’m so very proud to share the stage with him.
Ty, how does Hope feel about sharing her spotlight with someone as glamorous as Rula?
Ty: Hope is delighted… mostly. With Rula’s gorgeous looks and svelte silhouette she’d rather not have her stand too close at any given moment – and Hope insists that she’s the only one who gets that double pink spotlight at all times. It’s just a little healthy professional competitiveness. You might even go as far as to say Hope and Rula are cabaret’s very own Bette and Joan. The first two shows on 28 and 29 December are now sold out, and I wouldn’t say it’s an all out feud, but grab one of the last tickets for Saturday 30 December if you can… It’s going to be a bumpy night!
Rula Lenska is in rehearsals for a new play The Case of the Frightened Lady, a gothic thriller opening at The Theatre Royal in Windsor on 20 January for 20 days, before touring all over the country. She brings her mother’s fascinating memoire ‘From Dzikow to Willesden Green to Live at Zedel’ on 8 April.
Miss Hope Springs returns to the Two Brewers’ glamorous back bar with a brand new show ‘Vegas to Weimar’, about her years in Berlin and beyond, on Friday 19 January and will be appearing regularly at Live at Zedel in Piccadilly starting 15 February.