Stars in his eyes

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"I love your eyes, your cheeks, your hair/They're in a class beyond compare." Thus sang Barbra Streisand on her winningly entitled Color Me Barbra album and TV special. Yet there is a comparison to be made and it comes in the form of Jim Bailey, an operatic tenor turned international illusionist who takes on the persona of the indulgently manicured showbiz queen herself. Anyone allergic to two-bit, down-at-heel drag need have no worries. Forget lip-synching, Bailey performs live, faithfully reproducing all the trademark physical and vocal mannerisms. He has starred at the Palladium, sung as Streisand by invitation of the lady herself and, in another of his astonishing characterisations, sung as Judy Garland alongside her daughter Liza Minnelli in a recreation of their fabled concert together. He spent time with Garland at her home in LA honing and fine-tuning his act. There are recordings of her onstage in her TV series, but few can remember Judy playing the Talk of the Town, now, alas, more seedily reincarnated as Leicester Square's Hippodrome. If you want to discover what she was like or you couldn't stump up the readies for la Streisand's Wembley dates, grab the phone and book yourself a table at the Cafe Royal. Even hardened cynics have been won over.

DAVID BENEDICT

Jim Bailey plays The Green Room at the Cafe Royal, 68 Regent St, London W1 (0171-437 9090) from 27 Jun-15 Jul; pounds 20 (pounds 48 with dinner)

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