An interview with Ty Jeffries aka Miss Hope Springs

Miss Hope Springs will be performing her Christmas show Now it’s Christmas Time at Brighton’s Komedia on Tuesday 8th December. Last year’s show, which has been described as ‘a glittering glimpse of vintage Vegas’ was completely sold out.

Miss Hope has had rave reviews, as well as winning Best Cabaret Brighton Fringe 2011, Best Cabaret The Stage 2013, London Cabaret Awards 2015 and is shortlisted as Best Musical Variety Act nominee 2015. Full details of the Christmas show can be found below.

And this year Miss Hope is giving away a Christmas single which you can download here.

Find all the information for her show’s at Komedia and The Crazy Coqs below.

Miss Hope Springs website: http://www.misshopesprings.com
Download free Christmas track, Sing One Song: http://is.gd/5epJm2
Buy tickets to Now it’s Christmas Time at Komedia: http://is.gd/mJ8hPg
Information on Miss Hope at The Crazy Coqs: http://is.gd/MtZLQi

I caught up with the man behind Miss Hope, Ty Jeffries, son of the late great Lionel Jeffries for a chat over a Mojito or nine.

Whereabouts in Brighton did you live?
I lived on Ditchling Rise, and I moved around Brighton between 2005 and 2012…And I only moved because of work – I had to be in London. I do miss Brighton a lot; I have fond memories of the place, and come down as often as I can. I do all my recording sessions in Brighton , because my musicians live in Brighton and there are some great studios.

And what are your favourite things about Brighton?
The beautiful architecture, the big squares, such as Brunswick Square, and other squares along the sea front. And the wonderful mixture of people. I love the fact that in the summer it’s very buzzy and busy with day-trippers; and then in the winter it was ‘our city’ we got it back, it was like another place. And, after a busy day in London, you’d get off the train, and the air is fresh and different, even though it’s so close to London. I’ll move back to Brighton one day,when I can.

MissHopeSpring1

So tell me about Miss Hope Springs.
Miss Hope Springs was created as a vehicle to perform my songs. I had tried to get my songs to Streisand, Minnelli, Midler and Bassey but I never managed to open those doors, and so I decided (like Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie) that I had to take it into my own hands and so I created my own diva, a back story for her, the unfulfilled career, the disastrous love life as well as all the songs…both witty and poignant.

And if someone comes along to one of your shows, what can they expect to see? How would you describe it?
It’s been described as ‘a glittering glimpse of vintage Vegas’. It’s based on the lounge acts of the 1970s and those denizens of cabaret rooms and piano bars of that era. You get the show itself…but also what you get with her is that Hope says a lot of the things other performers perhaps think…but would never actually say. She reveals the truth about the ups and downs of her ‘Ritz to the pits’ life. It’s described as a ‘laugh out loud move you to tears show’ which I hope is true. The songs are described as earworms because they are very catchy and people come back again and again to hear them, because apart from buying the CD, my shows are the only place you can hear them currently.

In a way it’s an antidote to all the shows in the Great American Songbook, much as I love and am inspired by writers from the Gershwins to Michel Legrand and Bacharach. The show really crosses all boundaries, the story of Hope is a universal story that people relate to in some way or another. How not everyone’s dreams quite come true. I sometimes describe Miss Hope as not being a ‘has been’, but a ‘never was’. With all the ups and downs in her life and her career, she’s still got her eye on the big-time. She believes it could still happen for her – someone big could record one of her songs, she could star in a movie, win that Oscar.

I feel so lucky. It’s been a huge success in the past five years since I started doing Miss Hope in Brighton in 2010 I did my first show ‘Recovering Showgirl’ at the Brunswick pub for the Brighton Fringe. Then in 2011 I did a show at the Marlborough Theatre for The Fringe ‘Je m’appelle Hope’, and won ‘Best Cabaret’ that year. That set me on the road, and in the beginning of 2012 I was booked to play The Crazy Coqs in the West End on a weekly Sunday basis and moved back up to London.

And who would you say is your main audience?
I have a complete cross-section of audiences. But I do have a large female following, and a lot of very glamorous women who like to dress up, sort of as an homage to Hope, they wear as many sequins as they can get on! And of course there’s a gay following which has grown since I’ve moved to London. But it really is a family show, I have people bringing their 14, 15 year old children to it because there really is something for everyone. It’s good old-fashioned entertainment.

And at the moment you’re performing in very different venues, from The Crazy Coqs to The Rah Rah Rooms to Komedia and The Royal Vauxhall Tavern. Do you find that you have to tailor the act according to the venues and the audiences?
I think that’s something that happens naturally. It’s a chemical reaction between you as the artist and the audience, and that’s what makes the evening. Every evening is different in some way. You’re working with the audience and they’re working with you And that’s what I love, it’s sort of an extreme sport in some ways. The adrenalin is probably similar. Every show is different, and I love to improvise around things that happen during the show. Sometimes people cheekily give Hope a bit of an affectionate heckle and that can really be a hoot to deal with.

And if you had to pick out a favourite kind of venue, which kind would it be?
I love performing in intimate environments. I do a lot of private parties in people’s homes, with a piano and not very much else. And most artists are scared of very intimate shows because you can see the whites of people’s eyes in the audience, but I thrive on it, I love to see their faces. So, yes, small intimate rooms are my métier.

And I see that you have some famous fans, is that right?
Yes, I’m very lucky to have a number. Lady Helen Taylor (the Duchess of Kent’s daughter) Julian Clary, Rula Lenska, Marc Almond and Jonathan Ross are all regulars.

And there was a famous lady you were pictured with recently?
Oh the fabulous Leslie Caron, who starred in An American in Paris with Gene Kelly and so many other big MGM movies of the Golden Age, She saw the show recently. Fred Astaire’s daughter Ava is a dear pal, and comes to see the show when she’s over here.

Tell me about the shows you’re performing over Christmas.
I do various different shows, I’ve written many entire shows for Hope, so there’s a big back catalogue of songs; and at Christmas I do my ‘Now it’s Christmas Time’ show which I’ve done for a few years, and I’m bringing that back to Komedia on 8 December. I did it last year and sold out, so they’ve asked me back. I’m also doing that show at The Crazy Coqs in London on 20 December where I am also doing a big New Year’s Eve show – my fourth in as many years there, which will is the most glamorous and sophisticated way to spend New Year’s Eve.

And, I have to ask this, do you ever get sick of being described as the ‘son of Lionel Jeffries’?
No, it’s a fact of life, and if I’ve inherited any of his talent I’d be happy. I’ve got better legs than he had which is a relief. My mother’s family were writers and teachers, and my my mum was an actress when she was younger, ( mum and dad met at RADA), and she was a comedienne, and I think I’ve inherited something from both of them, and so in answer to your question, I’m very proud of the fact.

Book your tickets to see Miss Hope Springs at Komedia on 8th December here.

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