Lipstick On Your Collar. The Embassy Theatre Skegness. 03 September 2021
Lipstick On Your Collar
Embassy Theatre Skegness
Friday 3rd September 2021
After 18 months away from touring, the Embassy Theatre in Skegness welcomed the return of Lipstick On Your Collar, A tribute to the music of the 50s and the 60s. Nicola Seeking-Smith has hit upon a formula that recognises its audience and plays to it effectively. A two-act show featuring over 40 hits with a recognisable brand delivered by a team of skilled musicians and led by a front-woman with an infectious, effervescent quality, and quite possibly the best dimples in showbusiness.
The mood was summed up for me by one lady leaving who said to her friend, "I really enjoyed that. I really needed a good night out".
There is no story, the show is linked chronologically as the band play hits from each year from 1955 through to the beat boom of the sixties. British and American artists are there and the ever-present projection screen above the band plays video clips featuring film footage of some of the performers, and news headlines of the time.
Nicola bounces across the stage welcoming all and sundry to the show and interacting with audience members who have dressed in appropriately authentic clothing for the night. And in exchange, Nicola obliges by performing half a dozen costume changes of her own so as not to be outdone in the 50s glamour stakes.
The band, comprised of piano, bass, drums, lead guitar and a multi-instrumentalist who, at various times, played sax, double bass, guitar, percussion and keyboards, were clearly highly skilled musicians recreatinging the sounds so familiar from this golden era of music.
Harmonies were tight and when called upon to perform solos, were well-chosen. This allowed the lead singer to exit the stage to change when required and was an effective method of ensuring that the pace of the show never dropped and that the hits just kept on coming.
There is no doubt that the audience know and love Nicola for the entertainment she provides. Her personality is as big as her smile and just as dazzling.
As it was the first night back there were one or two minor technical issues such as the sound cutting out on the double bass during the iconic introduction to Peggy Lee's Fever, but the band played on and made the best of the situation. Overall, the sound production and the lighting were crisp and didn't disappoint. As I said, minor hiccoughs are to be expected after so long out of action.
There is no doubt that this a show built around a singer with a love of all things 50s and 60s and she was vivacious and flirtatious with a twinkle in her eye. Jump the Broomstick and Sweet Nothings worked very well. She sold every song to her adoring fan base, the skiffle sound of Lonnie Donegan's hit Putting on the Style went down particularly well. Then there were the hits of the girl groups such as Da Do Ron Ron and Be My Baby. I really enjoyed the acoustic tribute to The Everly Brothers with Crying in the Rain.
By the end of the show the joint was jumping as the audience threw caution to the wind and found its dancing feet for the final few numbers.
There are many shows of this kind doing the rounds, but Lipstick On Your Collar has a charm that is hard to emulate and that is thanks to its driving force of Nicola Deeping-Smith. She's back and after a quiet 18 months, she's not going to disappear. We will be able to enjoy Lipstick On Your Collar for some time to come.
04 September 2021