Album Review: Salad Days (2013 Live London Cast Recording)


“Oh yes it’s not that I want to stay. 
It’s just that I don’t want to go”

My heart jumped for joy when the Union Theatre announced their revival of Salad Days as the Julian Slade and Dorothy Reynolds classic is probably one of my favourite musicals (and following on from their production of The Hired Man too, another of my absolute faves). I loved being being able to revisit the evergreen perkiness of the show onstage and it also reminded me that I hadn’t gotten round to listening to this cast recording in a while.

My love for Salad Days started upon seeing Tête à Tête’s production of the show at the old Riverside Studios in 2010 which was such a success (eventually) that it returned in subsequent years and it is from that 2012/3 reprise that this live recording was made (which sadly means no Sam Harrison or Rebecca Caine) but it does capture so very much of what worked so well in Bill Bankes-Jones’ production and under Anthony Ingle’s musical direction.

The score was orchestrated for two grand pianos (played by Ingle and Paul Maguire) and this provides a real lushness to the sound, subtly abetted by Harriet Scott on double bass and Fred Beer’s percussion. So many of these songs are just bouncy and fun yet the precision of the playing here never lets you forget how eminently tuneful and musically well-constructed they are, and with a fair bit of dancing being done, the instrumental passages are a joy to listen to. 

Leo Miles and Katie Moore are corkingly good fun as the central couple Timothy and Jane in all their earnest spiffingness, the latter’s ‘I Sing In The Sun’ a real highlight, Kathryn Martin and Gemma Page sound gorgeous in ‘We Don’t Understand Our Children’, and Tony Timberlake is a hoot in all three of his roles. As it is live, you get the laughs of pleasure from the audience which I didn’t mind for once, reminding me of my own joy in watching the show. And at just £7, it’s a real bargain!

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