Rickie Lee Jones – UCL Bloomsbury Theatre, London

December 14, 2003

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You know when someone announces they’re off their face on drugs, and after that, whether they’re “joking” or not, you notice something a little askew in their mannerisms, comments and observations? Tonight this is the case with Rickie Lee Jones. An early onstage anecdote?in jest or otherwise?colours our response, means we perceive something sinister in her slurred, erratic diction and freeform scatting. The anecdote goes: “I asked a friend what it’s like to take ecstasy, cos I’ve taken just about everything else?especially tonight. He said, ‘If you’re in an empty car, you’ll fall in love with the steering wheel.'” She dispenses with any steering wheel, and it makes for a show that’s alternately harrowingly inspired and watch-through-your-fingers disastrous.

She starts an hour late, the delay blamed on Roald Dahl’s play The Twits running overtime. Thus the bar’s still advertising “worms and bananas,


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