Tuesday 15 August 2017

A Spoonful of Sherman - Review

Live at Zedel, London


Daniel Boys and Helena Blackman

It’s a surefire treat after a hard day of toil or tourism, to slip into the comfort of an collection of songs from the Sherman dynasty. In a show last seen at what is now The Other Palace, Robert J. Sherman (Robbie)  4th generation tunesmith and son/nephew of the legendary Sherman Brothers (Richard M. and Robert B.) has brought his carefully curated compilation across London for a two week residence in the Art Deco charm of the Crazy Coqs’, Live at Zedel.

The gig is badged as The Songbook Of Your Childhood – and the description is spot on. Mary Poppins and The Jungle Book, two of Walt Disney’s biggest hits of the 1960s were scored by the Sherman Brothers and if one then throws in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang from James Bond’s Ian Fleming, the place of the pair in songwriting’s pantheon is assured.

50 songs are referenced in a 90 minute whirl as  Sherman offers fascinating glimpses of narrative into the lives of his antecedents. That the set list also includes such pop hits as You’re Sixteen and Let’s Get Together only evidences the breadth of the Sherman Brothers’ careers.

As one would expect, performers Helena Blackman and Daniel Boys bring a crisp technical skill to the numbers, with glimpses of the songs’ original magic occasionally shining through. Boys positively relishes every moment of Wind’s In The East, giving a passionate enthusiasm to his performance that would more than match any of the stage Berts that have preceded him. Christopher Hamilton accompanies the pair on the piano, with a turn that spills into a celebration of irreverent excellence, including a stunning take on The Ugly Bug Ball.

Robbie’s recent offering of Bumblescratch makes up a pleasing portion of the second half, but for all the family’s multi-generational talent, this show lives and breathes the genius of the Sherman Brothers. Love, laughter and history – it’s all here in a charming evening’s entertainment.

Runs until 20th August

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