Lockdown Review: Take Me to the World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration

On the one hand, so much to love with such an inordinate array of talent assembled to mark Sondheim’s 90th birthday. But on the other, where’s the editor, there’s a real sense of the rambling here too. Fortunately as this has been put together in lockdown (and very well too) it is easier than ever to skip to the bits you want (in the spirit of these times, I ain’t telling you who disappointed me).

For me, I loved the unexpectedness of Katrina Lenk’ ‘Johanna’, the cuteness of Beanie Feldstein & Ben Platt’s ‘It Takes Two’, and the energy of Alexander Gemignani’s ‘Buddy’s Blues’. And of the heavy hitters in the finale, Donna Murphy and Patti LuPone nailed ‘Send in the Clowns’ and ‘Anyone Can Whistle’ respectively, and there’s huge fun (if not finesse) in Christine Baranski, Meryl Streep & Audra McDonald giving us their ‘Ladies Who Lunch’. Continue reading “Lockdown Review: Take Me to the World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration”

Film Review: Lucky Stiff (2015)

“A view won’t be a view without you in my way”

Filmed a couple of years ago, the movie adaptation of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty’s musical farce Lucky Stiff has now been released for you to enjoy at leisure across a raft of digital platforms, courtesy of Signature Entertainment. I’ve seen the show twice onstage now (most recently at the Drayton Arms) and neither time did it really win me over, the limitations of fringe productions doing the show little favour. But strangely enough, it is this cinematic version that seems to work the best, suiting its idiosyncratic charms down to the ground.

The piece is a featherlight piece of French fancy, based on the Michael Butterworth novel The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo, as an East Grinstead shoe salesman seizes on the chance to live a little when he’s the beneficiary of an unexpected inheritance from his late, rich, barely-known uncle. He’s got to go to Monte Carlo to fulfil the strangely detailed terms and conditions though and there he find an assorted cast of misfits who also have an eye on the cool $6m – and thus the farcical goings-on begin. Continue reading “Film Review: Lucky Stiff (2015)”

Music Review: Kristin Chenoweth – Let Yourself Go

“If you weren’t if you hadn’t if you didn’t and you weren’t and you hadn’t and you didn’t but you have and you were and you went and you did, and so, goodbye!”

I’m continuing to work my way through the pile of musical theatre CDs that people have loaned to me, but one to which my eye was quickly drawn was Kristin Chenoweth’s debut album Let Yourself Go. I previously reviewed her Christmas album which I absolutely love and despite what some people have said about her, I cannot wait for the day when I finally see her live: hopefully in a concert or show here in London but I’m also willing to travel…

It is a proper old-school variety album, selecting songs from a range of musicals mostly from the first half of the twentieth century, but with And shining above it all in Chenoweth’s gorgeous soprano, equally able to deliver the comic verbosity of songs like ‘If You Hadn’t But You Did’ (which I would love to hear Julie Atherton sing) and the vocal flexibility of ‘The Girl in 14G’ with the aching longing of ballads like ‘How Long Has This Been Going On’, the elegant restraint of ‘I’ll Tell The Man On The Street’ and the simple vocalise of ‘On A Turquoise Cloud’. Continue reading “Music Review: Kristin Chenoweth – Let Yourself Go”