Review: How to Be a Bad Girl

ERT Records in association with Igarus Theatre Collective
Laughing Horse @ The Place (Room) – Venue 532 – until August 26th
4 Stars (4 / 5)

A magician of a musician in a most fabulous hat, Brooklyn-based Sabrina Chap makes her Edinburgh debut.

How to be a Bad Girl, a captivating cabaret act of original songs performed on piano, is as dirty as the flyers promise – but with unexpected sweetness and poignancy. She dedicates her “One Night Stand Serenade” to the audience in a metaphor about live performance, one of many moments throughout the night that emphasises our shared experience, celebrating the power of live music.

With a cheeky punch, Chap charms even the politest of Edinburgh audiences to erupt into cheers and to sing along. Her songs are rich in variety, spanning themes of heartbreak, longing, anger, and political frustration, each its own storm of passion and humour.

It’s unfortunate that this Summerhall-worthy show is instead confined to an inspiration-less box of a venue, but Chap – ever the personification of presence – manages to turn even challenging tech into an avenue for imagination.

As those of us who have seen her host the #Pianodrome have witnessed, she’s even better on a real piano, but her energy is infectious no matter the setting. Among the best free shows at the fringe all month.