Saturday 28th June 2014
If you think singing on stage is scary, try doing it in a room with no mike, no production values and nowhere to hide. This is the challenge that faces Musical Theatre students from the Royal Academy of Music, performing in a cabaret show as part of their end of year showcase. This year Director George Hall has chosen the songs of Jerome Kern as the theme of the show, and just in case we might think that’s a bit limiting, we were reminded that he did write 700 songs. Vivian Ellis reports that she met him at a time when her own publishers were complaining how uncommercial she was. Kern’s advice? – “Go on being uncommercial – there’s a lot of money in it”.
Never was a truer word spoken. Most of these songs were new to us, but Hall has obviously taken a lot of trouble to find a wide range of characters and subjects to keep his students busy. Yvette Ling kicks off the action with the delightful ‘How’d you like to spoon with me?’, showing a lightness of touch and cheeky confidence. Hot on her heels is Kim Anderson, singing ‘Cleopatterer’, bringing just the right amount of brassiness and comedic style. She also makes up a nice double act with David Leo in the hilarious ‘Up with the lark’, about a person accidentally getting up early and vowing never to do it again. Boris Alexander was particularly impressive and got the chance to show his versatility, first in the duet ‘When we get our divorce’ with Lara de Belder, then in a storming rendition of ‘Old Man River’, and going from the sublime to the ridiculous, leading the lighthearted group number ‘Never marry a girl with cold feet’. Amie Miller, who had already showed off her dancing talents in A Man of No Importance is captivating – her song ‘Rolled Into One’, an apology for keeping several men on the go until she can find one who has all the right qualities, is beautifully delivered and we would forgive her any amount of philandering. Dalia Fadel brings a darker note of sophistication to the ballad ‘Why was I born?’. Richard Brindley has a great time with the caustic wit of ‘Tulip time in Sing Sing’, a song which is definitely as bizarre as it sounds. Sarah Mossman powerfully and wittily delivers ‘Billy’s a liar’ with the barely contained outrage of a wronged wife.
Sadly, this performance, along with ‘A Man of No Importance’ and Little Women, has a necessarily short run, but there’s always next year. And to keep us going in the meantime there is a twentieth anniversary celebration on the 30th November at the Prince Edward Theatre – see Curtain Up! on the RAM website for more details.