12 July 2014
Sweet Songs From The Shows! at Normansfield Theatre
Songs from the Shows! promised 20 West End Musicals in 1 night with a selection of songs from Les Miserables, West Side Story, Oklahoma, South Pacific and many more. That was clearly tempting.
It was not just the songs that got me there though, I like the Victorian charm of the Normansfield Theatre and the show was raising money for charity.
Careful planning meant that I had enough time to walk there but less careful planning and a misleading weather forecast meant that I had to return home after 500m or so to collect an umbrella. Despite that delay I was still able to get there in time to have a bottle of Budvar before the start of the performance,
The format was simple but effective. There were just three singers (two women and one man), a pianist and a narrator.
The narrator told us the story of the musical, rising to replace light opera, and introduced songs that were landmarks on this journey chosen, he said, because they were the performers' favourites.
This was a greatest hits collection so I knew quite a lot of the songs but they were all from musicals so there were quite a few that I did not know. That gave me the nice combination of familiarity and discovery.
The selection was interesting with some obvious hits from some obvious hit shows, e.g. Summer Time and Oh What a Beautiful Morning, some less obvious hits from obvious hit shows, e.g. Wash That Man Right Out of my Hair and something obscure from The Sound of Music, and some obvious hits from less popular shows, e.g. Send in the Clowns.
Copyright must have played a part on the more recent material as the only LLoyd Webber selection was an obscure song from an obscure show, so obscure that I have forgotten what they both were.
Most of the people there knew more of the songs than I did and they happily joined in with the singing when requested. Not knowing the songs was a convenient excuse for me not to.
The show was all very pleasant and the rest of the evening was too. There was a short break in the middle where I could help myself to another Budvar and the weather was nice enough for me to walk back the pretty way, including a slight detour through the Tide End.
Once again the Normansfield Theatre proved to be a little treasure and once again I was pleased to support it.