A really lovely version of one of my favourite songs from one of my favourite musicals
Keys: Ben Smith Guitar: Steve Van Niekerk Bass: Rachel Espeute Drums: Bertie Atkinson Reeds: Joe Atkin-Reeves Trumpet: Andy Allen Trombone: Ross Lumbard Video editing: Rachel Espeute Mixing and Mastering: David Crane Brass arrangements: Andy Allen
This Sell A Door tour of the excellent puppet musical Avenue Q shows just how well it is standing the test of time
“You should be much more careful when you’re talking about the sensitive subject of race”
I do love Avenue Q. It was one of the first musicals that I fell in love with after moving to London, tracking it throughout its West End-theatre hopping run with multiple visits (a recap can be found here) and then popping in here and there to catch the occasional touringversion. And it is a show to which my reactions have shifted: 13 years ago when I first saw it, its quarter-life crisis was directly recognisable; a little way down the line now, I’m the one saying ‘these kids are so much younger than me’ about this youthful company!
Premiering in 2003, the show – music and lyrics by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx and book by Jeff Whitty – benefited hugely from coming into life in a slightly more innocent pre-social media time, a moment when Generation X didn’t face half as much opprobrium as millennia are forced to shoulder nowadays. And revisiting the show now, as this Sell A Door production kicks off a major UK tour scheduled to last most of the year, it is just lovely to be reminded of simpler times, of such uncomplicated good feeling. Continue reading “Review: Avenue Q, New Wimbledon Theatre”
Brass the Musical at the Union Theatre is a powerfully moving celebration of sacrifices made, of service offered, of music itself – beautifully done
“Just until our lads come back”
There’s a neat symmetry to the life of Brass the Musical thus far. Originally commissioned by the National Youth Music Theatre to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, its professional London premiere now marks the Armistice Centenary. Benjamin Till’s musical, with additional lyrics from Nathan Taylor and Sir Arnold Wesker, thus serves as a powerful tribute to those who served, both at home and on the frontline.
What is particularly gorgeous about Brass is how it is suffused with the joy of music. Its power to bring people together (as in the characterful ‘Forming a Band’), its potential to lift spirits (the marvelous storytelling of ‘Whistle Billy’), its ability to express something deeper beyond just words (the haunting vocalese at the trenches). And as an expression of the musical theatre form, it works beautifully in deepening an already profoundly moving piece of history. Continue reading “Review: Brass the Musical, Union Theatre”