It was in a packed theatre that smelled faintly of wine that Alan Cumming, widely known for his film and television roles and widely admired for his contribution to musical theatre, struck the perfect chord between humour and heartbreak. With a simple, tasteful combination of witty anecdotes and heart-wrenching classics, Cumming’s stripped back cabaret is something even the most seasoned of theatre goers will call upon as a must-see.

Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs was born in his dressing room during the 2014 Broadway season of Cabaret, in which he and his friends would drink, laugh, sing and drink some more. The true indulgence of ‘Club Cumming’, however, was not alcohol but listening to songs they secretly loved, many of which made it into the final cut of his solo show.

While Cumming may not have the powerhouse vocals of some, what makes his performance unforgettable is his utter honesty. Cumming addresses his struggle with his father’s abuse, detailed in his family memoir Not My Father’s Son , and learning of the tragic life and death of his war-hero grandfather on BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are? While he takes his audience to some deeply personal places, he has the nuanced and necessary ability to slide open a curtain and let in the light.

In between renditions of an eclectic mix of songs like Avril Lavigne’s Complicated, Billy Joel’s Goodnight Saigon, and Miley Cyrus’ The Climb, Cumming tells tales of his friendship with Liza Minelli, his passionate love with a man called Raven and the consequential tattooing of his name in his groin region, and his experience co-hosting the Tony Awards with Kristen Chenoweth. The show caters to his die-hard theatre fans, those who want to see Eli Gold onstage with a Scottish accent, and those who simply seek a few hours of laughs, tears and entertainment.

Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs is a brilliant night of happy anecdotes, sappy songs and an embracing of intimacy, with a few mild penis jokes thrown in for good measure. If you are blessed enough to secure a ticket, don’t let it out of your sight.

Written by A. Kong

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