Wednesday 14 February 2024

Songs For A New World - Review

Upstairs at the Gatehouse, London


Music & lyrics by Jason Robert Brown 
Directed by Kai Wright 

The cast of Songs For A New World

While Songs For A New World has only ever enjoyed seemingly fleeting appearances in a variety of theatres in and around London's West End, it is very much a familiar piece to many as Jason Robert Brown's 1995 song cycle provides moments both of easy listening as well as some hard-hitting numbers. 

From the opening iconic motif on the piano, the stage is set in a lounge-like menagerie of ornaments and antiques, with lampshades hanging across the ceiling. Sophie Goodman's design is both simple yet effective and remains the base throughout. 

Being a four hander there is a huge demand on the cast and the chemistry between the four is tangible. Stand alone numbers such as ‘Christmas Lullaby’ in Act 2 could be so easily overlooked and feel out of place but Lizzy Parker as Woman 1 brings ample heart and emotion to the role and the score. Luke Walsh as Man 1 displays huge vocal range and dexterity making numbers such as ‘King of The World’ & ‘Flying Home’ look effortless and easy. 

Glenn Oxenbury's sound design is outstanding with musical director Liam Holmes delivering fine work from his tightly rehearsed and well balanced 6-piece band.

For a pleasant night of music and soaring vocals Songs For A New World is a fitting escape from the real world and a welcome night at the theatre. Besides in this day and age, to lose yourself in a new world for 90 minutes might not be such a bad idea.

Runs until 3rd March

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