The songs may have ended, but the melodies linger on in this enchanting revue directed by Michael Strassen conceived by Peter Polycarpou and performed by him and the magnificent Sally Ann Triplett. It was starting rehearsals when lock down two was announced and this version of the show, recorded at the Union Theatre in Southwark, where it had been due to open, was put together in three days, not that you would know. It is a polished affair performed by two seasoned actors who know how to put a song across better than most. If there is any cavil it is that you need to keep the sound down a little as they are doing what true performers in musicals do, that is those not filtered through sound systems – aiming for the Gods.
The “hook” – all good songs have one – is Polycarpou’s discovery in an antique shop of a book of song so of the twenties, the age of popular song everyone sang – today people may dance or listen to those who sing butseldom can they sing along. Here they all are – well the cream of the crop, songs not just by Berlin but by names nobody remembers, even if they knew them at the time, because some wrote under several names. Sometimes it would have been the performer who made them famous, but often the songs became famous in their own right and, sheet music being cheap, the piano being a feature of most parlours they were the ones the people sang at home.
It is an hour of pure delight – the composers were Berlin, of course, De-Silva, Henderson, Youmans, Freed, Wilson, Scraubstader, Chaplin, Schneider and James V Manico known as Ragtime Jimmy.
What’ll I do, Smile when your heart is breaking, I’ll be loving you, Why Won’t You leave Me along?, You Made Me Love You, Why do You wan to make those eyes at me?, I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles, When it’s Nighttime in Italy and Who’s Sorry Now, Roses are Flowering in Picardy and Yes, We have No Bananas.
Any of those ring a bell, strike a chord?
Peter Polycarpou & Sally Ann Triplet
Director: Michael Strassen
Musical Director & Arranger: Mark Dickman.
Associate Director: Paul Nicholas Dyke.
Lighting Designer: Andrew Exeter.
Production Design: Jean Grey.
Tickets: www.stream.theatre. £15 plus booking fee.
22-29 November 7.30pm.