Sunday, 25 February 2018

A Night At The Oscars - Review

Upstairs At The Gatehouse, London


Written by Chris Burgess
Directed by Bronagh Lagan

Laura Sillett, Kieran Brown, Steven Dalziel, Natalie Green

A Night At The Oscars is the latest revue to showcase some of the last century’s finest songs. In two hours (and two acts) Bronagh Lagan’s cast whirl their way through snatches of 60 songs all of which have an association with either Academy Award nominees or winners.

Chris Burgess has weaved a well-researched narrative that interjects moments of history and comment along the way. The strength of the show though rests in the talents of the 4 performers who make this snapshot tour of much of the American Songbook (and indeed, beyond) such a polished gem.

Kieran Brown, Steven Dalziel, Natalie Green and Laura Sillett are all on top form. Amidst so many classic songs it is hard to highlight the (many) treats, but the stand out moments from the women were both Judy Garland numbers from the first half. Sillett delivered an exquisite take on Yip Harburg’s Over The Rainbow that captured the song’s powerful fragility. The act’s closing number saw Green sing The Man That Got Away with a handling of the song that made for a spine-tingling heartbreaker, a reminder that this is a number that’s not heard often enough.

Dalziel and Brown offered a memorably tight duet of Brother, Can You Spare A Dime? (Harburg again) and also an unexpected close harmony of What’s New Pussycat. The tongue in cheek highlight of the gig however was undoubtedly Brown’s powerful delivery of Live And Let Die – he was magnificent!   

It is a credit to producer Katy Lipson for assembling such spot-on talents for her quartet who are well supported by musical director Ben Ferguson and choreographer Chris Cuming, who has produced well drilled excellence from his tiny cast in the Gatehouse’s compact space.

Carefully curated by Burgess, A Night At The Oscars is a charming production of a delightful idea.

Runs until 4th March, then playing at the Radlett Centre on 11th March
Photo credit: Tim Hall

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