Café Royal Until 29 August Friday, August 13 1999

At his best, this talented British singer-songwriter has a ravenous charm. Think Jacques Brel reincarnated by an intense cross between Anthony Newley and David Bowie. He is tall, thin and pale, with an attractive smile, great haircut and a strong-voiced, often strident delivery of original material that has nothing to do with the simple-minded singalongs or innocuous background for cocktail bar chatter.

Alternately casting himself as romantic fool, sneering devil and irony-streaked sinner, Jeays produces a neat, hour-long set mixing wisdom and sarcasm, self-reflection and self-dramatisation. He is a dab hand at concocting eddying elegies for lost youth, dashed hopes and dead friends. But he has an even greater penchant for bitter comedies of hypocrisy, cultural pretension and amatory desperation.

Jeays is almost too good at taking a song by the throat. You may occasionally pine for a gentler, more relaxed and wide-ranging exhibition of his gifts and a tad less of the show-stopping cabaret troubadour. Still, he possesses the sort of securely high-strung appeal that can grow on you.

Donald Hutera