conceived by Simon Greiff music and lyrics by Scott Evan Davis.
St James Theatre (Studio) 12 Palace Street SW1E 5JA To
1 June 2014.
Runs 1hr 30min No interval.
Review: William Russell 1 June.
This four performance showcase cannot be the end of the line for this splendid musical. As someone who occasionally moans about the curse of Sondheim, which has afflicted too many American composers, some of whom should be discouraged from any more copycatting and the rest taken aside and strangled, Scott Evan Davis’s song cycle comes as the one that got away.
The great man’s influence is undeniably there, but Mr Davis is his own man. If there is a drawback it is the 90 minute, no interval format. It suits the material well enough, but makes for an unsatisfactory night out in lots of ways. Theatre pieces of that length are becoming all too common. That isn’t to say the cycle should be enlarged, rather that it might work as a really good night out couple with a shorter companion piece.
Picture Perfect deals with what looks like the prefect family: mother and father, handsome son and lovely blonde girlfriend. But beneath the surface things are far from perfect.
Jerome Pradon and Helen Hobson as the parents, Harry and Elizabeth, whose marriage is in crisis, cannot be faulted. Joel Harper-Jackson as their son Josh gets some of the best numbers and sings beautifully, but given a lyric with the line ending with “you” on a sustained note; he really must try and not sing “yeeeooo.”
As Elle, his girlfriend, with whom Harry is having a fling which destroys his marriage, Charlotte Wakefield is also just as vocally impressive, but she has a rasp at the edge of her voice which needs looking at.
However, these are quibbles. The songs are terrific, the lyrics neat and the whole production quite admirable. There is also a truly splendid band consisting of a pianist, Colin Billing, and a cellist, Sarah Bowler. As for the secrets unveiled, they are truly surprising.
Josh: Joel Harper-Jackson.
Elizabeth: Helen Hobson.
Harry: Jerome Pradon.
Ellie: Charlotte Wakefield.
Director: Simon Greiff.
Lighting: Mike Robertson.
Sound: Pav Kucharski.
Musical Director: Colin Billing.
Additional arrangements: David Snyder.