Des de Moor
Press Cuttings: Darkness and Disgrace

The Stage 27 April 2000
Photo: Theo Cohen

Rosemary Branch: Darkness and Disgrace

This cabaret, inspired by the songs of David Bowie, could have so easily been a pretentious joyride, perfect for the singer/songwriter's fans, but lost on the uninitiated. Fortunately, it is nothing of the kind, and so much more.

Those people who count Let's Dance as their favourite Bowie track may at first be disappointed by the programme. It is a show which represents the choices of a performer - namely Des de Moor - who knows his Bowie catalogue back to front, and who is happy to skip over the artist's dodgy commercial period in the eighties.

Instead, de Moor, founder/host of London's Pirate Jenny's Club and a songwriter himself, has been thoughtful enough to pick songs which are extremely theatrical in content. Director Barb Jungr has also done a great deal to stage them in their most dramatic context (the fine lighting design is by Chris Umney).

There is no attempt at an impersonation or caricature here, no mimicking of Bowie's vocal inflections or changes of manner or image. De Moor presents his very own interpretations of the songs and in doing so creates an endless stream of compelling vignettes.

Some pieces - Please Mr Gravedigger - become sinister monologues. Others, like Saviour Machine, All the Madmen and Scream Like a Baby, cover all kinds of compelling themes, from isolation to dying love, from mental illness to dystopianism. De Moor is also helped by having the extremely talented musical director Russell Churney by his side - accompanying him on piano/guitar/vocals, and joining in on the spoken drama as well.

Lisa Martland

 More press cuttings
Darkness and Disgrace
Press Index
The Stage website