The hallmark of Camp is the spirit of extravagance.
- Susan Sontag, "Notes on Camp"
Today's SSCE requires me to, as David Niven said of the Oscars streaker, reveal my own shortcomings. I have to admit that I either never knew or have utterly forgotten that the great British director/aesthete Derek Jarman filmed a version of The Tempest, let alone that it featured such a magnificently charming thing as this interpolated number.
Miss Elisabeth Welch, who was rather the UK's iteration of Miss Mabel Mercer, ravishes the eye and ear, singing "Stormy Weather" (very much her tune, long before it was Miss Horne's) in a costume that conjures up both her own glory days in lavish London revues and a thoroughly 1979 take on an Erté fairy queen. It is a '30s moment, transmogrified, with its sailor suits and baroque shepherdess costumes, and above all by Welch's own serene, imperial presence, into something quite appropriately, for the work, "rich and strange."
I'm especially charmed by the way in which she has completely conquered the lineup of fetching young chorus boys - I wouldn't be at all surprised if Jarman hadn't briefed them on just why they should be amazed at the woman who, at the time she breezed through this lovely moment, had been a star for rising 60 years. I couldn't be more pleased to have accidently stumbled on this while lost in the wilds of Youtube, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.