Theatre: David Benedict on theatre

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The Independent Culture
The name is Alison Jiear and it rhymes with higher, which goes some way towards describing her voice. She says she doesn't know exactly what her range is but for simplicity's sake we'll just leave it as spectacular.

In the recent, disgracefully short-lived, The Hot Mikado she played the not exactly stand-out role of Pitti-Sing, one of the infamous "Three Little Maids from School", sang everyone else off the stage, and stole the show. Hardly surprising when you learn that she and her classical teacher decided that they were moving in different directions when he saw her on national TV holding a high "E" in chest voice for a full 16 bars. Nice classical singers wouldn't consider such a thing. More to the point, they couldn't physically do it.

This voice has Broadway belt written right through it but as the final track on her debut album shows, it ain't just showbiz blaring. She may be white, but this sister's got soul.

A vivacious blonde from Brisbane, Australia, Jiear (left) came to London as one of the Fabulous Singlettes in Stop in the Name of Love and then did stints in shows like Grease, but she hates year-long contracts. Asked what she really wants to do, she jokily quotes Julie Andrews with a wickedly enunciated "I don't know, I just don't know," before admitting that actually, "I just want to get my rocks off". Listening to her let rip on the Mikado cast album, you can see what she means. No, I'll re-phrase that. You can feel it.

Next up is Prisoner of Cell Block H - The Musical. Jiear plays the nice screw - "Meg Morris, but with boogie-woogie" - and gets to deal with Wentworth's latest inmate, one Lily Savage. But first she is doing a night of cabaret for Crusaid at CentreStage on Monday. Tickets are like gold dust but anyone who can't get in should grab a copy of her album.

Tickets for the cabaret and copies of 'Simply Alison Jiear' are available from Dress Circle (0171-240 2227). 'Prisoner' is at the Queen's Theatre (0171-494 5040) from 23 Oct