St James Studio
Reviewed on Wednesday 4th March 2015
Jerry Herman is one of theatre's most successful composers and lyricists of all-time, and I can think of no better way to celebrate his remarkable career than with Jerry's Girls which has been revived at the St James Studio thirty years after it opened on Broadway.
Herman is the man behind some of the most extraordinary musicals, including Hello Dolly!, Mame, Mack & Mabel and La Cage Aux Folles, as well as Dear World and The Grand Tour (which was recently revived at the Finborough Theatre). Kate Golledge's beautifully crafted production stars three tremendous actresses, each of whom bring something unique to the piece.
The goddess of musical theatre, Anna-Jane Casey, is in a league of her own. Casey pitches the tone perfectly, excelling during the more comedic numbers whilst tugging at the heartstrings during Herman's stunning ballads. It is an utter joy to see Casey taking to such an intimate stage, her vocals can't be faulted and her high kick is a scene stealer!
Best known for her cabaret work, Sarah-Louise Young brings a different quality to the piece. She bounces off the audience with ease and brings a fun quality to the group numbers, with her rendition of 'La Cage Aux Folles' providing a stand out moment.
Ria Jones gives a masterclass performance. She paces herself perfectly; proving that less can sometimes be more - it is Jones' smallest expressions which received the biggest reactions from the audience.
Nothing quite prepared me for Jones' utterly mesmerising rendition of 'I Am What I Am'. I cannot remember the last time I witnessed such an exquisite rendition of a song. Every single bone in Jones' body felt every lyric and she truly brought the house down. I hope some sort of recording of the number can be uploaded onto YouTube so her award-worthy performance can live beyond this limited run. I cannot write enough praise.
Matthew Cole's choreography brings bucket loads of old-school Broadway glamour to the St James Studio. The highlight of the night is the company's performance of 'Tap Your Troubles Away' from Mack & Mabel. I don't want to give too much away, but pianist Edward Court and reed player Sophie Byrne get well and truly stuck in... and there were tap shoes...
Jerry's Girls is a blissful and insightful evening, shining the light on an exceptionally talented theatrical legend.
Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)
Jerry's Girls runs at the St James Studio until Sunday 15th March 2015.
Please visit www.stjamestheatre.co.uk for info and tickets.
Photo Credit: Darren Bell