Some Enchanted Evening
A cabaret of songs by Amanda McBroom, Stephen Sondheim, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, James Van Heusen, Joel Silberman, Alan Chapman, Doc Pomus, Mort Shuman, Jacques Brel, Eric Blau, and George & Ira Gershwin
Amanda McBroom & George Ball (singers) with Michele Brourman (musical director & piano accompaniment)
Reviewed by: Tom Vallance
Reviewed: 22 April, 2014
Venue: The Crazy Coqs at Brasserie Zédel, Piccadilly Circus, London
It’s nearly a year since Amanda McBroom first appeared at The Crazy Coqs, and how good it is to welcome again her remarkable talent as she returns with not only a completely new programme, but also her husband, George Ball, himself an accomplished baritone who has starred in Los Angeles productions of South Pacific, The Most Happy Fella, and Sweeney Todd. McBroom’s voice is as delectable as ever – her silken soprano complemented by effortless transitions to low-down earthiness or vibrant belting. Her compositions figure prominently, starting with ‘Ship in a bottle’, and finishing with her great hit, ‘The rose’, written for Bette Midler. This time around she omits her emotional and moving semi-autobiographical number, ‘Errol Flynn’, but for those wanting to shed a tear or two there is the poignant plea of a dissatisfied wife, the sadly haunting ‘Dreaming’. Other sterling examples of McBroom’s work are ‘Dance’ and the amusing ‘Round’.
The composer who dominates the evening, however, is the French master, Jacques Brel. McBroom and her husband-to-be first met in 1968, when he was appearing in Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, and they have been married for forty years. They bewitch with such Brel classics as ’Amsterdam’, ‘Fannette’ and ‘La chanson des vieuxs amants’. Many of the English lyrics are by their friend Mort Shuman, who surprisingly also co-wrote (with Doc Pomus) The Drifters’ ‘Save the last dance for me’, and Ball splendidly evokes the insidious charm of this pop classic. He also delivers one of the less frequently heard numbers that Sammy Cahn and James Van Heusen wrote for Frank Sinatra, ‘All my tomorrows’.
The couple tap the Sondheim catalogue for a mischievous account of ‘The little things you do together’, and she harmonises with some seductive humming as he sings the song which gives their show its title, the Rodgers & Hammerstein gem, ’Some enchanted evening’, which has been given a gorgeous arrangement by Michele Brourman. Another priceless standard, George and Ira Gershwin’s ’Our love is here to stay’, concludes an evening to be savoured.
- Amanda McBroom & George Ball is at The Crazy Coqs at Brasserie Zédel, 20 Sherwood Street, Piccadilly Circus, London W1 until Saturday 26 April 2014
- Bookings 020 7734 4888
- Michele Brourman performs her show, LOVE AND TAKE-OUT: AN EVENING OF ORIGINAL SONGS, on Monday 28 April at The Crazy Coqs