I’m talking to famous songstress Liza Pulman at her home in Cornwall where she’s hurriedly packing, preparing to embark on tour with the fabulous jazz pianist and all-round entertainer Joe Stilgoe.
Probably best known for being part of the famous British comedy cabaret Fascinating Aida, her ridiculously extensive CV also includes albums, concerts and musical theatre, so why is she uncharacteristically nervous?
“It’s like a group of friends getting together and revisiting some classics. Joe even does some requests. So come along. It’ll be great fun”
“I’m happiest on stage, it’s what I love to do and a huge privilege, but this is like a white knuckle ride because although we’ve rehearsed, we won’t really know what the final show looks like until we get on stage. So we are unbelievably excited and terrified at the same time,” she admits.
‘A Couple of Swells‘ opens tonight in Cornwall, Oxford Playhouse coming up soon on Friday March 31, and comprises of The Great American Song Book meets 1950s French Riviera.
“Life is too short not to sing the songs you love. But what also became apparent was that it would be a real partnership on stage, with lots of duets,” Liza promises.
“THIS IS LIKE A WHITE KNUCKLE RIDE BECAUSE ALTHOUGH WE’VE REHEARSED, WE WON’T REALLY KNOW WHAT THE FINAL SHOW LOOKS LIKE UNTIL WE GET ON STAGE”
“Neither of us wanted to perform as a singer and pianist on stage. Instead, we aimed for an almost old-fashioned vaudeville style show, so our act is peppered with fun and naughtiness.
“More importantly, you have to have a repertoire of songs you love and that you want to sing.”
So how did the duo come to pair up like this? “We got together musically during lockdown and had a real musical connection and a similar sense of humour. Joe is not only a brilliant pianist but has a real twinkle in his eye so doing a show together was the next natural step,” Liza explains.
Even so, commuting from Cornwall must be hard work? “It’s a bonkers place to live, completely insane in fact considering so much of my life is spent on the road. But we live in a really beautiful place and home is really important to me so we make it work.
“we have a real musical connection and a similar sense of humour”
Until moving down there, Liza was a Londoner born and bred, but after her first marriage failed and she survived the 2005 tube bombing, she decided enough was enough “There was quite a lot of London related trauma in my life,” she says reflectively, “and whenever I went to Cornwall my troubles seemed to fade away. Cornwall is a wonderful place to come back to.”
But in the meantime, the show will go on. So what would Liza say to anyone tempted to come along? “Oh do. We are so excited about it, and the entire evening has a lovely after dinner feel to it.
“It’s like a group of friends getting together and revisiting some classics. Joe even does some requests. So come along. It’ll be great fun.”
A Couple of Swells with Liza Pulman and Joe Stilgoe comes to Oxford Playhouse on Friday March 31. Go to 01865 305305 or book at https://www.oxfordplayhouse.com/events/a-couple-of-swells