give my regards to broadway

20 Jul

GIVE MY REGARDS TO BROADWAY

UPSTAIRS AT THE GATEHOUSE

Exactly what it says on the tin. A selection of everyone’s favourite songs from Broadway musicals, sung by a four young and beautiful players.

The programme starts with a highly tropical number. ‘Too Darn Hot’. It is always surprising that when a young man finds it too hot to pitch woo with his baby tonight, he is still capable of some lively and acrobatic dance steps. Both young men in the company Ben Lancaster and Albert Lindsell manage it well.

The girls in sparkly dresses Rebecca LaChance and Thea Butler take over the stage to render “s/wonderful” by the Gershwins. The works by these brothers are so well  known having been rendered by the most perfect interpreter of music and lyrics,  Fred  Astaire. He and Ginger danced their way through all of them. It is indeed wonderful that we can still watch these great productions on TV and DVD and they will never go out of fashion. The great thing about these two is that they were so totally real sometimes in the most unreal of situations.

These songs were written by great composers and some of the wittiest poets of the twentieth century. Cole Porter, Johnny Mercer and Lorenz Hart being my particular star turns and the sadly unlisted P G Wodehouse in the brilliantly simple and moving love song ‘Bill’ from Showboat

I have to admit I favour Lorenz Hart who with Richard Rodgers wrote My Funny Valentine, Have you Met Miss Jones and of course Bewitched – a song that has too many choruses, each funnier than the one before. I was really sad that Miss  Rebecca  La Chance, who sang it beautifully, only did the censored version. I think we were in need of the humour.

Which brings me to my problems with this show. Many of the items are  sung, accurately enough, but they are too square, as if the actors were reading the words and the notes from a script without paying real attention to the actual; heart of the song.

It is not a criticism that holds water as it is not easy to carry a show with around 35 songs running straight after each other without a plotline of any kind – and yet manage to get the best out of every number. What the show needs is something keep ;the momentum going – maybe an MC or a comic to break up the numbers – or even a dialogue from the performers themselves.

Nevertheless, Good luck to the talented and handsome cast and to the musicians Oli George Rew and Laurence Michalowski , the director Harry Blumenau and the choreographer Chris Whittaker. To Al Hunter on lights and Nico Menghini on sound.

Always lovely to hear these songs..

 

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