“The rain it raineth every day”
A rather surprising addition to the theatrical CD racks is this official cast recording of the David Tennant/Catherine Tate Much Ado About Nothing that is currently doing great business at the Wyndham’s Theatre. Perhaps the clue is right there, there’s a natural fan-base with an appetite for all they can get their hands on when it comes to Mr Tennant and having employed up-and-coming musical theatre composer Michael Bruce to compose a score to fit in with the 80s-themed production, it is now available to buy and download from all usual outlets.
And what a funny beast it is, taking the 80s brief completely to heart, the 9 songs take Shakespearean poetry and verse and sets them to pastiches of music of the era. It is hard to credit just how much Bruce’s original music plays like an authentic Greatest Hits of the 80s without one actually being able to identify exactly who it is the song reminds you of. Just the once, in Who is Hero?, is he unable to resist the obvious connection and delivers a piece that is perhaps too close a cousin of Bonnie Tyler’s ‘Holding Out for a Hero’ yet it is still fun with it.
Listening to it outside the context of the show, it made for a curious listening experience. I wasn’t entirely convinced it worked, but then it demanded a repeat listen and then another and I have to say I think I love it. It helps that I am a child of the 80s so has a natural appeal since Bruce’s writing is so good here, but delivered well with Natalie Thomas and Hannah Warren Green taking most of the lead vocals along with Bruce himself, it really is a good listen in and of itself: the Sade-like stylings of ‘It Was A Lover And His Lass’ and the wouldn’t-sound-out-of-place-on-Madonna’s-first-album (really!) ‘The Rain It Raineth Every Day’ probably edging it as my favourites. It almost makes me want to see the show again to see just how the music fitted into the various scenes, showing how well it did its job as ‘background music’.
But in order to satisfy the demand mentioned in the first paragraph, two bonus tracks have been included which features the vocal talents of the leading couple. The first, ‘Sigh No More’, is an alternate version of a song from the show, but the other, ‘We Go Together’ is an original Bruce song which is huge amounts of fun, a light jazzy duet which is full of dry humour and surprisingly strong vocals, especially from Catherine Tate. All in all, a rather fun album, short and sweet, and one which I heartily recommend. NB: thanks to Scott who unwittingly spurred me on to giving the album another listen