Monday, 27 October 2014

Review: My Lifelong Love at the Garrick Theatre

My Lifelong Love 
Garrick Theatre
Reviewed on Sunday 26th October 2014

“Every good theatre song tells an individual story” said Georgia Stitt at the start of her My Lifelong Love concert, and this really did ring true throughout the whole evening. 

The audience developed a wonderful relationship throughout the course of the show with the incredibly talented singer, composer, lyricist and musician. Stitt opened the show with 'The Me Of The Moment', a song beautifully written about the reality of life. An informal chat followed from the slightly nervous yet playfully excited Stitt.

The first act comprised of a variety of songs/stories from different projects in Stitt's career. We seamlessly heard pop/classical songs feed into more soulful numbers. An evening filled with absolutely brilliant character songs and some more hard hitting ballads. 

Jamie Muscato made every lady swoon in the entire house with 'One Day More'. His vocals were effortless and the connection he had with the audience was so strong I felt like he was personally serenading me throughout the entire number. 

The stand out performance of the night came from Cynthia Erivo (pictured right) with her rendition of 'The Wanting Of You'. This sexy, haunting and delightfully intense song was executed absolutely beautifully by Erivo. She had a quality of rawness to her performance that seemed to make the rest of the world stop. 

'Onward/Beyond' was a song about a young girl emigrating in search of a better life and realising along the way that if she wanted to survive she had to be ruthless. Eva Noblezada pitched this with a perfect amount of strength and also enough fragility to make the audience feel moved and morally conflicted. 

A very witty Stitt informed us that the best lyricist she had ever had the pleasure of working with was 'the dead one'… aka William Shakespeare. A beautifully orchestrated rendition of Sonnet XXIX was romantically performed by Norman Bailey. 

The second act began with an upbeat number 'Connect' which comments on how reliant we are on our mobile phones. The pace of the music meant I missed lyrics here and there, but this didn't take away from the fact it was a great company number. 

Stitt went on to explain that all of the music from act two is from The Danger Year, a new musical that is about “the connections we make and the connections we fail to make” as a result of being so plugged into our mobile phones, emails and social media. All of the numbers in The Danger Year were strong and highly comical. The Arts Ed choir added to the magic of the second act, despite a couple of ‘risky’ outfit choices. 

The Danger Year numbers kicked off with Simon Bailey and Caroline Sheen bumping in to each other on the subway and saying yes to an adventure with 'One Thousand Places To See Before You Die', an exciting number leaving me filled with butterflies about the next stranger I might meet. 

Sheen is a superb actress and I question if there is anything she can't do vocally. She started 'The Baby Song' with such amazing comic timing and giddy innocence, before pulling the rug beneath our feet (with the help of superb lyrics) and breaking our hearts in a moment. 

In 'Before I Lose My Mind', Erivo, Sheen and Noblezada made a fantastically neurotic trio of women struggling to keep up with their manic multi-tasking lives, on the verge of losing the plot. 

Stitt brought the evening to a close with her encore 'This Ordinary Thursday', which she wrote for her husband about the first time he told her he loved her. An incredibly humble end to a Sunday evening that was anything but ordinary. 

All in all, My Lifelong Love was a masterclass in musical theatre writing and performance. The passion that goes in to Georgia Stitt's work shines through and the collaborative nature of her writing is apparent with everyone involved. 

Reviewed by Joanne Hewes

No comments:

Post a Comment