Review: Road Show, Union Theatre

“Carelessness and being free of care,
Aren’t they the same?”

Since its inception in 1999, Stephen Sondheim’s Road Show – with book by John Weidman – has undergone considerable rehabilitation, not least three title changes, and so has rarely been seen on this side of the Atlantic. John Doyle transferred his Off-Broadway production to the Menier Chocolate Factory in 2011 for its European premiere but this is the first UK revival since then, director Phil Willmott continuing a mini-residency at the Union after last month’s fine Fear and Misery of the Third Reich

But where the episodic nature of Brecht’s storytelling worked well, Road Show is less successful in stringing together its vignettes of chasing the American Dream into something more affectingly substantial. The show follows the contrasting but always connected lives of brothers Wilson and Addison Meisner (per the programme) as they seek to parlay guts and gumption into something more, taking unsuspecting benefactors, love interests and easy marks along for the ride. Continue reading “Review: Road Show, Union Theatre”

Review: Cabaret in the House with Rosalie Craig, Lauderdale House

“But now it’s just another show, you leave ‘em laughing when they go”

Cabaret in the House is a series of Sunday afternoon cabaret shows held at Lauderdale House, a historic building tucked away in Waterlow Park in Highgate and the room used for the cabaret is actually one where Nell Gwynne stayed 400 years ago, providing a nice link. Each show is introduced by Valerie Cutko, who also gives a number at the beginning of each act accompanied by Stephen Hose. Her fabulously over-dressed appearances were full of great personality and bon mots and she made a most engaging host.

As the highlight of the afternoon, Rosalie Craig gave a highly eclectic programme, mixing in pop songs with musical theatre standards and also taking the opportunity to showcase some of her compositions as a budding singer-songwriter, and excelling at all of them. One of the best things about the cabaret format is that performers can choose the material that they want to, that they have an emotional connection with, and so it didn’t matter that this playlist came from disparate sources, Rosalie pulled it all together with her bubbly personality, her clear rapport with her band (including Hadley Fraser on guitar) and a genuine love of performing. Highlights for me were a lovely rendition of Kander and Ebb’s ‘Sometimes a Day Goes By’, Joni Mitchell’s ‘Both Sides Now’ accompanied by herself on piano and a tender ‘So Many People’ from Sondheim’s Saturday Night. Continue reading “Review: Cabaret in the House with Rosalie Craig, Lauderdale House”