A NIGHT AT THE OSCARS
by Chris Burgess.
Upstairs at the Gatehouse, West Hill, Highgate Village, London N6 48D to 4 March 2018 and then at the Radlett Centre, Radlett, Herts WD7 8HL until 11 March 2018.
Tues-Say 7.30pm. Mat Sun 4pm.
Runs 2hr One interval.
TICKETS: 020 8340 3488
www.upstairsat the gatehouse.com
Review: William Russell 11 February
The show must go on
With leading man Kieran Brown losing his voice on opening night the cast was faced with sending the audience home – he was home in bed, voiceless nursing a cold – and disappointing a full house. Normally I would not review a show but the three remaining cast members coped with the other male singer, Steven Dalziel singing Brown’s songs as well as his own. It is a sign of how well he managed that I don’t know for sure which were his number and which should have been performed by the ailing Kieron, a performer I have seen before and not easily replaced. With John Plews, the Gatehouse doyen, taking over the task of compering the tale about the Oscars and the songs that won them, the excuse for this glossily staged revue, it went on regardless.
The first Oscar winning song was The Continental from the Astaire and Rogers musical, The Gay Divorcee – after which it was a trip down Hollywood’s memory lane to hear some of the best songs ever written delivered with panache by the lanky Steven Dalziel, and Natalie Green and Laura Sillett, elegant and voluptuous. If they were missing Mr Brown, and they were, it hardly ever showed. From Cheek to Cheek, by way of Thanks for the Memory, You’ll Never Know, Be my Love, Secret Love, Raindrops Keep Falling and The Way We Were – plus the odd one which did not win, but should have, like The Man that Got Away – this well directed revue kept the audience enthralled.
Maybe Mr Burgess might have told us a little more about the composers and lyricists, and a little less about the feud between Joan Crawford and Bette Davis, but he did come up with one song nobody remembered – the 1937 winner, Sweet Leilani. It comes from a film nobody remembered either called Waikiki Wedding starring Bing Crosby and Shirley Ross who was, of course, the lady Bob Hope sang Thanks for the Memory with in The Big Broadcast of 1938.
Wisely they stopped in 1974 otherwise the show would not just have gone on, it would have gone on and on and on. Also it has to be said the Oscar winning songs do not get better as the years pass. The dashing Kieran should have his voice back by now and all will be as it should be, but nor was anyone who saw it like I did short changed. There really is no business like show business.
Director: Bronagh Lagan.
Musical Director: Ben Ferguson.
Choreographer: Chris Cuming.
Musical Arranger: Andy Collyer.
Lighting Designer: Aaron J Dootson.
Sound Operator: Dominic Young.