James “Biddie” Biddlecombe

'A Little Lunacy, A Little Loveliness'

The Pheasantry (Chelsea)

James Biddlecombe, “the uncrowned king of the cabaret scene”, has sung his way through Glam Rock, Punk and the New Romantics, Opera and Music Hall and Pop. He has wooed audiences from punks to peers to the original Blitz Kids and to the jet set in New York, Paris and Berlin. Now he returns to his performing roots in London. Join him and his long-time musical director, Chris Marshall, in an evening of musical magic and mayhem taking you from outrageous pop spoofs through jazz to heart-rending  ballads and beyond…

Photo by Rob Drummond

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"Great panache...distinctly chic...unabashed and a sharp line in banter." Sarah Howell (The Observer)

"Baroque 'n' Roll... multi-faced flamboyance.... sings everything from Jazz to Purcell." Elizabeth Hilliard (Evening Standard)

Book tickets for James “Biddie” Biddlecombe

 Peter Parker, author of 'Isherwood', 'The Old Lie - The Great War and the Public School Ethos', 'JR Ackerley' and 'Housman Country' writes: 

In the in the dark ages known as the Late Seventies,  James Biddlecombe could be found earning what passed for his keep in a murky London dive aptly named the 'Blitz'.

It was indeed the sort of place in which one could imagine a stray bomb plummeting through the roof,  and on a bad night it sometimes looked as if though one just had -  though terminal intoxication rather than high explosives was usually to blame for the way the clientele lolled around at odd angles with dazed expressions.  Everyone perked up however,  when Biddie -  impeccably tailored and coiffed, disposing himself elegantly against a battered old upright piano - started his set. He was probably the first person I'd ever met who had his suits specially made for him.  The rest of us, dazed by the fluorescent excesses of punk,  felt at liberty to throw on anything that came to hand - and not even necessarily from the wardrobe -  before setting out for the evening.  We were shamed by Biddie’s style but also entranced by his voice and songs from other eras he chose to perform. 

It is often said -  usually of those who cannot sing in tune -  that the most important talent a cabaret singer have can have is ‘to put a song across’ .  Certainly in the Berlin cabarets of the 1920s and 1930s it was possible to have a glittering career even if (as in the case of the great Claire Waldoff), your voice sounded like gravel being churned in a bucket or (like La Dietrich) you slid between octaves in the more demanding stretches of songs by Friedrich Holländer.  Biddie, who is happily possessed of a voice that is both pitch perfect and infinitely flexible,  can not only put a song across but often make it his own. So much so, in fact, that when I listen to many standards in my head it is not, say, Ella Fitzgerald or Blossom Dearie I hear,  but James Biddlecombe.

Back in the Blitz,  many of us were hoping that Biddie might be preserved on vinyl. Time and technology has moved on and here we are - at last! -  with his first CD.  Biddie too has moved on,  and his song book is now very eclectic indeed

From the sublime (“Ashes to Ashes”) to the ridiculous (“Circus of Love”)  Biddie doesn't merely cover songs: he reinvents them.

In the words of Carole Bayer Sager:  Nobody Does It Better.”