Leicester Square Theatre, London
The Stephen Sondheim Society presented a sparkling hour of cabaret, where Alex Young gave a selection of the composer’s classic numbers amidst a set list that included other works.
Wide-eyed and when required, teary-eyed too, Young immersed herself in the delivery of her songs. A talented singer, her mastery of Sondheim's caustically comic style was a treat in You Must Meet My Wife accompanied by Matthew Crowe, with both young singers giving a beautifully nuanced lilt to parts written with considerably older performers in mind. Crowe provided further support adding a finishing touch to Young’s neat take on By The Sea, from Sweeney Todd as well as setting the scene for her enchanting Children And Art from Sunday In The Park With George.
The evening wasn’t entirely Sondheim, with Young giving a refreshing interpretation of Tim Connor’s new writing, Back To School. Too many of her other choices however showed a tendency to resort to smut. Notwithstanding that the (predominantly) silver-haired Sondheim society audience may well have found some of Young’s selection vulgar, this clever singer would do well to remember, particularly with sexual references blatant or subtle, that less is often more.
A nod to Bacharach proved a rare and unexpected treat. In singing Whoever You Are, Young soared gloriously from ballad to belt, whilst her I’ll Never Fall In Love Again was a tender delivery of a tune more often condemned to muzak these days. Throughout, Andrew Smith’s piano accompaniment was assured, with Young’s vocal presence continuing to demonstrate to the Society that she remains a worthy winner of their 2010 Young Performer Of The Year award.