Review: An Evening with Matthew Strachan & Guests, St James Studio

“You’ll enjoy the thrill because you can”

There’s an event at the St James Studio in a couple of weeks called Sunday at the Musicals which has over 20 female singers coming together to celebrate the world of musical theatre, showing off what can be achieved in the freedom of the one-night cabaret form. Which just goes to point up the relative disappointment of a night called An Evening with Matthew Strachan & Guests which just managed the two, with one song a piece.

Strachan is a composer of considerable credits (as per Wikipedia) but has the ignominy, or perhaps renown, of being best known for writing the theme tune to TV show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. And as we discover throughout the couple of hours of his show, there’s much more to his back catalogue, with time spent in Nashville writing for others providing an anecdote or two to accompany the material.

His writing style is very much focused on character-driven songs, often comedic, centring on the quirkier side of life but in all honesty, the evening only really came to life when his guest stars were performing – a moving Wendi Peters and a powerful Abigail Matthews both nailing their song. And I’d go so far as to wager that Strachan feels happier as an accompanist than performer, which is a bit of a problem when your show is heavily balanced the other way.

An Evening with Matthew Strachan accompanying his many guests would prove a much more satisfying evening for all concerned.

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