Why the fu­ture’s Beige

Lenny Beige is a show­biz leg­end. At least, that’s what he tells John Nathan

The Jewish Chronicle - - ARTS&BOOKS -

FOR OVER a decade, singer Lenny Beige has been croon­ing to cabaret au­di­ences and crow­ing about his high-fly­ing ca­reer. Now Beige is play­ing Lon­don’s fash­ion­ably old-fash­ioned Pi­galle Club. The show serves as a self-trib­ute and a cel­e­bra­tion of his old friend and men­tor, the late An­thony New­ley.

Beige, of course, does not re­ally ex­ist — he is a char­ac­ter cre­ated by com­edy ac­tor Steve Furst. “The prob­lem with th­ese made-up sto­ries,” Furst says, “is that peo­ple think you’re mak­ing up the sto­ries about New­ley too.”

Furst is a se­ri­ous fan of New­ley, whose ca­reer kicked off as the Art­ful Dodger in David Lean’s film ver­sion of Oliver Twist and grew into one of the coun­try’s finest singer-song­writ­ers. With Les­lie Bri­cusse he wrote the Bond theme Goldfin­ger.

De­spite Beige’s self-pro­claimed su­per­star sta­tus, it is Furst who is more likely to get recog­nised on the streets. Not just be­cause of his reg­u­lar ap­pear­ances in TV come­dies like Lit­tle Bri­tain, but mainly be­cause of the Orange cin­ema ad­verts. Furst plays one of a panel of philistines to which stars like John Cleese and Steven Sea­gal have to pitch their movie ideas. “I get recog­nised all the time be­cause of that,” says Furst. “It’s un­be­liev­able, the power of cin­ema.”

Furst, 40, was raised in a mu­si­cal fam­ily in Muswell Hill, North Lon­don, and now lives in St Leonards on the South Coast — or, as Beige calls it, “St Lenny’s” — with his co­me­dian wife Wendy Wa­son and their two chil­dren.

He has plans in the pipe­line to go to Los An­ge­les to au­di­tion for a few TV pi­lots. There is also a film treat­ment which cashes in on the profile that has been built up by the cin­ema ads.

“I know a lot of very fa­mous peo­ple out there — Sacha Baron Co­hen, Rob­bie [Wil­liams] — and if you’re out there do­ing a lit­tle show­case, you can say to them ‘come down’, and then that gets you writ­ten about. It’s a good time to be Bri­tish out there.” Once In A Life­time: A Night of New­ley is at the Pi­galle Club, Lon­don W1 on Novem­ber 14. Tel: 0845 345 6053

Su­per­star Lenny Beige (aka Steve Furst). Even his hair is en­ter­tain­ing

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