Sunday, 3 March 2013

Musical what?

We've just been to see a concert of music by a young musical theatre writer with a great deal of promise. He's currently in his mid-20s, and is obviously still in the process of finding his own voice, which meant some of what we heard was somewhat lightweight, but as the evening drew on, we were treated to a more complex songs which packed an emotional kick.

What I'm constantly irritated by, however, is the assumption that all musical theatre needs to be performed by actors affecting twangy, brassy American accents. My heart always sinks as I realise I'm going to be subjected to a song with no emotional content - or worse, that if there is an emotional core, the actor will singularly fail to find his or her way there

Every cabaret I visit these days seems to start with a hyper-nasal  squeaky salute to our cousins over the pond, which instantly has me looking for the programme to see if I can expect anything later on with a bit more weight. 

Sure, some songs are inherently American and need to performed with a Bronxy twang - imagine Adelaide's Lament being performed by someone imitating Julie Andrews - but Broadway performers generally have well-rounded voices with extraordinary natural resonance, which seems to vanish whenever the Brits "do" American. 

Even when many British musical theatre performers deign to sing in English voices, they often opt to hide behind comedy regional accents, which makes me wonder if they actually have voices of their own, or any interest in their audience's emotional journey! 

Anyway, it's time to get off the soap box and back to the telly. We're watching Let's Dance for Comic Relief, which takes me from the sublime to the absolute ridiculous! 

We spent the afternoon in Joe Allen's theatre bar and restaurant celebrating a highly pregnant Lisa's 40th birthday, which was absolutely wonderful. She looks ridiculously well, and I've seldom seen a baby bump being carried with so much out front. If the old wives tales are anything to go by, that is, unequivocally, a boy.


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