Sophie Ellis-Bextor : London Astoria G-A-Y

Promoting new single, Cher-cover 'Take Me Home', Ms Bextor brings some grace and style to the Astoria...

Sophie Ellis-Bextor then… The bastard son of Lesley Judd, former singer with indie group Fluff Fluff Fluff Fluff & Cuddliness, the girl who kept Sinead of B*Witched from the top slot with her hit ‘If This Ain’t Love Then Take Your Hand Out Of My Tights’. This much we know. But what of the real Sophie? The Sophie behind the tabloid scandals and Hollywood romances.

‘Hollywood romance’ is apt to describe the performance at G-A-Y. The backdrop is a giant portrait of Ms Bextor’s face (which will, presumably, be consigned to an attic for the purposes of ageing.) Her backing band and dancers’ jackets all display the words The Fabulous Bextor Boys across the back, and Sophie herself is decked out in a taffeta ball-gown in heartless-Jean Simmons-black.

“Thank you for coming to my party!” she announces before launching into new single ‘Take Me Home’. Actually she doesn’t do anything so gauche as ‘launch’. Sophie starts a song as if she were lighting a cigarette, and delivers it, note perfect, with an effortless swagger about the stage, taking time to clasp the outstretched hands of the audience as if this were ‘just something one does!’

For ‘Groovejet’ she gets a little flamenco on yer ass, stamping her heels and flicking up her skirt, announcing that G-A-Y now stands for “Girly, Adorable, and Yours!” Tonight’s only hint as to what forthcoming album ‘Read My Lips’ has in store is ‘Murder On The Dancefloor’, a song with its heart in the discotheques of the 1970s. Not, though, the exclusivity of Studio 54, more the memory of Camber Sands and the first stirrings of lust under an irresponsibly used strobe light. As if to emphasise the point, Sophie plays her ace card: a cover of Baccara’s ‘Yes Sir I Can Boogie’. Never has the word “boogie” been sung more plummily, and “woogie” sounds positively regal!

There is, of course, an encore. ‘Take Me Home’ is reprised, this time with full ‘Busby Berkeley dream’ dance routine. Our starlet is lifted high to reveal a new frock: “Well you didn’t expect me to come back on in the same thing now did you?”

Sophie Ellis Bextor then. She had style, she had grace, and she most certainly gave good face.

Timothy Mark