Friday 24 May 2024

Jerry's Girls - Review

Menier Chocolate Factory, London


Music and lyrics by Jerry Herman
Concepts by Larry Alford, Wayne Cilento and Jerry Herman
Directed by Hannah Chissick

Jessica Martin, Cassidy Janson, Julie Yammanee

A showcase of Jerry Herman’s most acclaimed compositions, Jerry’s Girls is an evening of a sung-through medley of numbers in a compilation that allows the songs to speak for themselves. Cassidy Janson, Julie Yammanee and Jessica Martin share the singing honours that sees Herman’s compositions either maintained as solo numbers or rearranged into duets or three-handlers. 

For the most part the evening is a delight, requiring little of the audience other than to sit back and enjoy the melodies, either free of the narrative that accompanied them in their original musical theatre outings or alternatively pricking our collective memories, inviting us to recall Herman’s marvellous shows and his gift for translating the human condition into song.

As always, Janson is fabulous, handling the big solos of I Won’t Send Roses and Time Heals Everything from Mack And Mabel with finesse. From the same show, Yammanee offers up a deli-cious Look What Happened to Mabel. Martin grabs the spotlight wonderfully in the comedy routine from Take It All Off. 

As would be expected Hello, Dolly! and La Cage Aux Folles feature heavily in the revue’s setlist as Janson powerfully closes act one with The Best Of Times. The second half goes on to include a gorgeous arrangement for three voices of I Am What I Am.

Hannah Chissick’s direction makes good use of the Menier’s compact space, but Matt Cole’s choreography could have been tighter. Some of his routines lacked precision and to replace the tap-dance of Tap Your Troubles Away with tapping typewriters rather than a short, but what could have been impressive, tap routine from his talented leading ladies was an opportunity missed.

Sarah Travis leads her 6-piece all-female band magnificently and her arrangements of Herman’s tunes are fabulous. If you’re looking for an evening of mellifluous musical pleasure, Travis’s music alone is worth the ticket!

Runs until 29th June
Photo credit: Tristram Kenton

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