a beautiful noise

19 Feb

A BEAUTIFUL NOISE
A TRIBUTE TO NEIL DIAMOND
BY FISHER STEVENS
at the Lyric cTheatre

This show is well named. Some wonderful music issuing from the Lyric Theatre stage.
Sadly, Neil Diamond, who wrote ‘A Beautiful Noise’ had to give up performing when he contracted Parkinson’s Distease. But here is Fisher Stevens to pay tribute to one of the best selling musicians of all time with 30 songs in the top ten. He has sold at least one hundred million records.
The story of his life is illustrated by a giant screen at the back of the stage. He was born in Brooklyn and one of the first illustrations is the Brill Building where he penned so many of his songs. He was at Erasmus High School, in the same class as Barbra Streisand, but they were not particularly good friends!
However they later worked together and he sang one of his most beautiful songs with her. ‘You don’t bring me Flowers’. Stevens pays tribute to this, singing it along with Samantha Palin, a duet which leaves the audience in tears – so beautiful and so poignant. Palin and Rebecca Cole are his girl backing singers, both lovely and talented, each having a chance to shine in their solo items. .
One of the most stunning items in the show is the tribute to all the great singers and songwriters of recent years – including Bowie, Presley, Prince, George Michael. Their faces are splashed across the screen one by one to the accompaniment of ‘He’s my Brother’ making each one more moving than the one before.
Stevens is a rare breed, somone who can sing Diamond’s song as he did them without making an obvious impersonation. It is lucky that he also looks the part in his many sequined costumes. He begins casually in leather trousers and yellow shirt as he sings country style , but soon graduates into black and sequins.
He has some really terrific musicians backing him. They are a glamorous bunch in white shirts and seqins and lit by different coloured spotlights throughout. Incredibly versatile, switching without any visible effort from Guitars to Brass, and even a piano accordian. Gerry Power, Steve Green and Glen Johnson and John Moakes on a mean trumpet. Nichola Pope Mathews with Baritone Clarinet is the only female member and I was a little sad that she didn’t have the same uniform as the guys, but just wears a short tunic and high heels to show her legs. Hmm!
So many songs, Desiree, Sweet Caroline, Love on the Rocks, Do I love you, Girl you’ll be a woman, Forever in Blue Jeans.The audience happily join in with the Monkey’s song ‘I’m a believer’ and of course ‘Song Sung Blues’ and ‘Play me’. It is a delight to look up into the Gods and see the people all grooving up there. Singing along and dancing. This is music everyone can relate to.
The show is going on tour and will be back in London in June and July.
The evning could be sad, missing the great man, but Stevens is a terrific entertainer and makes it one of the most joyful evenings evenings on Shaftesbury Avenue.

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