Back in the days when songbirds in musicals could really sing, which is to say they were singers who were also actresses rather than actresses who can just about hold a tune and are blessed with a good sound engineer, one of the ornaments of the West End was Lorna Dallas – she played, among other roles, Magnolia in the legendary 1971 production of Show Boat at the Adelphi alongside Cleo Laine. She was also in Kismet and with Danny La Rue in the equally legendary production of Hello Dolly.
But in time she married, went back home to the United States and became Mrs Garry Brown. However she took to the cabaret stage a few years back in the United States and in 2017 returned to London to appear at The Crazy Coqs, Zedel’s cabaret room off Piccadilly.
As part of its offerings to lighten the gloom of these lock down days Home Again, her first time back, because she did return, has been posted on the Coq’s You Tube site.
Handsome, splendid in blue satin, she delivers a superb programme of songs, some by Ivor Novello –rarely attempted by today’s singers – and best of all Jerome Kern. She has been praised as one of his greatest interpreters. She may be a lady of some years now but the voice is there in all its glory, soaring up seemingly effortlessly to the top notes, while her equally gifted accompanist Jason Carr provides the perfect backing. It is an hour and bit of pure delight, starting with Lloyd Webber’s As If We Never Said Goodbye and Sondheim’s Back in Business just to set the scene. And on we go through the likes of Waltz in My Heart (Novello), Younger Than Springtime (Rodgers), Bill (Kern) My Life Belongs to You (Novello) and Once in a Blue Moon (Kern). As the lyric says once in a blue moon you will find the right one and once in a blue moon occasion this is.
The show was performed in July 2017.
Director: Barry Kleinbort.
Musical Director: Jason Carr.
Photograph: Darren Bell