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Venue:The Place, 34-38 York Place Edinburgh EH1 3HU
Phone: 0131 556 7575
Links: Click Here for venue details, Click here for map
Ticket Prices: Free  
Room: The Baird
AUG 15-26 at 22:30 (60 min)
Show Image

'How to Be a Bad Girl' chronicles this former classical pianist's delightful descent into the world of smut, booze and burlesque. Based on Chap's signature tune, which has become a stalwart in the burgeoning neo-burlesque scene, it describes her descent from being a 'good girl' into the delightful depths of freakdom and sexual liberation. Combining ragtime, filth and whiskey - this is an evening of revelry and abandon that you can't miss!

A talented pianist who discovered her razor-sharp wit on the burlesque stage, Chap never set out to sing dirty songs. But when her first record, 'Oompa!' was released, the title track became a sort of anthem for the neo-burlesque scene, with performers stripping to her music across the States, Europe and the UK. Soon, Chap was being booked nationally, singing dirty songs alongside world famous burlesque acts. Here, she learned that she had to be just as entertaining as a bouncing nipple tassel, while using just her wit and her words.

Luckily, her sardonic, satirical lyrics were able to command the stages. Critics started taking note of this neo-vaudevillian chanteuse: “Imagine, if you can, Judy Garland singing the songs of Tom Lehrer as arranged by Dr. John, and you will have an approximation – not perfect but close – of the Sabrina Chap experience.” (American Songwriter Magazine) Somehow, she had tapped into this pulsing neo-vaudevillian scene, with the Advocate stating that her music “…channels the raw energy of ragtime and an old-school musical, with lyrics that evoke a contemporary Cole Porter.’

Comfortably nestled into her new home as a burlesque singer, Chap soon began working with circus artists, most notably with one of the oldest modern day independent circuses in the States, the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus. Soon, she found herself performing alongside (and often at times accompanying) sword swallowers, aerialists, jugglers and other performers of pain. Soon, she was hitting major stages with them, including the Virgin Music Festival, Speigeltent, and the National Mall in Washington DC for the Smithsonian.

Bolstered by the freakishness of her new-found cirkus family, Chap began touring internationally - hitting Paris, Berlin, Reykjavík and doing 6 UK tours. She's hit such noted venues as The Lowry (Manchester), Café de Paris (London) and the Royal Vauxhall Tavern (London). As one UK audience member called her, she's 'A dash of Tim Minchin, a dash of Adele, and something I've never tasted before.'

'How to Be a Bad Girl' is this talented performers first official one woman show. Here, Chap reveals the hilarity, desires and personal pains that accompanied her on this surprising voyage from classical pianist good girl to just a slut on a piano.

Come join this wildly talented and absurd performer for an evening of revelry, hilarity, and testimony to the power of live entertainment.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * REVIEWS * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"The admirable thing about vaudeville is that it really can’t be done half-heartedly. It’s a style that requires a lotta shoulder-shimmy and real fire in the belly. If you can’t channel that awesome power of entertainment, the spotlight will drift away quicker than the tip of a hat. A good thing, then, that Sabrina Chap has this ability by the barrel." 

"Though her descent into drunkenness showed the least amount of skin in the performance she managed to pour out the greatest amount of talent."
- New York Cool

"As a performer she is more like a stand-up comic who also happens to be a tremendously talented musician. In her stage show she draws you in, disarms you with humour, and then makes you sit up and listen to what she has to say. The result is intoxicating." (Polari Magazine - UK)

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News and Reviews for this Show

August 26, 2018  Broadway Baby
Like a piano player in brothel or a chanteuse at an orgy, Sabrina Chap is the fallen woman of cabaret. A classically-trained pianist who slipped into the world of burlesque and bawdy songs, Chap has bags of personality and cheeky twinkle that entices the audience in this small, hot space to lean in and let her take control.

Chap, resplendent in classic ‘burlesque girl’ look, sits at the piano and regales us with the tale of her embracing the bad girl persona. The songs that pepper the show are all original creations and are catchy, witty and wonderfully performed. The subjects covered include one night stands, the political situation, and even a little heartbreak are worthy of the enthusiastic applause from the audeince.

Chap is what would happen if Tom Waits regenerated into Amanda Palmer but learned to be funny and a little self-aware along the way. She owns the tiny performance space and it’s only afterwards that one realises that the show was as political as it was entertaining. Chap has a flair for words and makes many a salient point about sexual politics and isn’t afraid to throw in some emotion where it counts.

Based in Brooklyn, Chap is brash without being aggressive, suggestive without seeming slutty (although she’s happy to embrace the title) and funny enough to hold her own alongside any of the talented comedians at the Fringe. She’s also confident with the audience, regularly engaging directly without ever taking it too far. Chap is cabaret to the core and this show reflects that; here the fourth wall is shattered and she is dancing on its remains.

Edinburgh Fringe has learned to embrace cabaret over the past few years and with quality performers like Chap returning that embrace enthusiastically, it gives me hope that even a self-proclaimed bad girl can be this good. Click Here

August 19, 2018  The Outlier
4 Stars (4 / 5)

A magician of a musician in a most fabulous hat, Brooklyn-based Sabrina Chap makes her Edinburgh debut.

How to be a Bad Girl, a captivating cabaret act of original songs performed on piano, is as dirty as the flyers promise – but with unexpected sweetness and poignancy. She dedicates her “One Night Stand Serenade” to the audience in a metaphor about live performance, one of many moments throughout the night that emphasises our shared experience, celebrating the power of live music.

With a cheeky punch, Chap charms even the politest of Edinburgh audiences to erupt into cheers and to sing along. Her songs are rich in variety, spanning themes of heartbreak, longing, anger, and political frustration, each its own storm of passion and humour.

It’s unfortunate that this Summerhall-worthy show is instead confined to an inspiration-less box of a venue, but Chap – ever the personification of presence – manages to turn even challenging tech into an avenue for imagination.

As those of us who have seen her host the #Pianodrome have witnessed, she’s even better on a real piano, but her energy is infectious no matter the setting. Among the best free shows at the fringe all month. Click Here

August 17, 2018  Deadline News
CABARET – How To Be a Bad Girl… A Debaucherous Night with Sabrina Chap
The stage is set with a Keyboard and a microphone, How to Be a Bad Girl – A Debaucherous Night with Sabrina Chap, is a cabaret solo-show full of storytelling, and hilarious off-the-cuff comedy. Sabrina Chap clearly loves people, and her stage presence reflects this vividly.

The intimate room at The place on York Place, whilst it may not be the most appealing looking, is a perfect size for an audience to appreciate Chap close-up as she gets personal with them.

A woman who was trained as a classical pianist and set out to be a choir teacher sit’s in pink satin and fishnets telling the charged story of how she became “a bad girl” and “a slut” – and it’s hilarious; her original music delights audience members, perhaps in more ways than one, as sings bluntly about sex, lust and loving it all.

American born and living in New York, Chap is used to a more lively audience than the Edinburgh Fringe crowd can often be, but she’ll have you singing along with her in no time.

This is an intoxicating evening, and a must see for cabaret fans – or anyone that wants a bit of alternative sexual education.

Chap’s cheeky, witty and bold personality shines through as she sings the stories of her own life, and sometimes others – all with wonderful vocal ability and tone that excites and engages the mixed crowd that packed in to the room to see her.

A free show, which is well worth filling the bucket at the door – Get there early if you want a seat! Click Here

July 5, 2018 Deadline News
PREVIEW: Clean cut piano teacher’s descent into smoky-voiced burlesque queen
BREATHY burlesque tunes and a backstory to die for suggest that Sabrina Chap’s cabaret show could well be one of the standout hits of the Free Festival in 2018.

The provocatively titled How To Be A Bad Girl is less an attempt to shock and more a tongue-in-cheek description of how a clean-cut, classical piano teacher and wannabe choir teacher ended up singing in burlesque clubs instead.

Chap, the Illinois-born daughter of Bulgarian immigrants, insists she was a “good girl” while growing up. However, then she released Oompa!, her first album of ragtime-infused cabaret tunes.

The album proved a hit on the burlesque scene with performers stripping to her tunes across the world. As her promotional material puts it she was soon “singing filthy songs alongside world-famous burlesque acts, circus luminaries and cabaret starlets. Here, she learned that she had to be just as entertaining as a bouncing nipple tassel.”

Against that sort of competition she not only sharpened her songwriting and singing skills (she is described as the “love-child of Tom Waits and a whisky-soaked angel”) but also developed a razor sharp wit and sadistic humour.

With original tunes, story-telling, and a finely-honed stage presence, How to Be a Bad Girl chronicles Sabrina’s delightful descent from classical pianist into the world of smut, booze and burlesque in her own words. Click Here

June 18, 2018 Various
Collection of Reviews
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