Lorna Dallas – Home Again
Live at Zedel
27th June 2017
“Emotional power and stunning vocal strength”
The Crazy Coqs is the perfect space for cabaret. To take your seat at a lamplit table in this beautiful Art Deco space is to step into an intimate performance atmosphere, and as soon as Lorna Dallas came into the room, it was clear that she was indeed ‘Home Again’ after two decades away. Buoyed up by the enthusiasm of a warm crowd, her pleasure at being back on a cabaret stage was palpable, and infectious, and her two opening numbers – ‘As If We Never Said Goodbye’ from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard, segueing into Sondheim’s ‘Back in Business’ – set the tone for the evening. Emotional power, stunning vocal strength and clarity and lots of theatre were there from the outset, and it was clear that, as an audience, we were in safe hands.
Dallas’ musical director, and friend of 29 years, Jason Carr, was at the piano, and together they run a tight ship. The programme zipped along, and Dallas moved deftly between Gershwin, Novello, Jerome Kern and more modern American composers with whom she has worked. In the first half, Gershwin’s ‘Home Blues’ sounded smoky and terrific; Novello’s ‘Waltz of my Heart’ fizzed like a champagne cocktail, and the South Pacific belter ‘Younger than Springtime’, almost exactly half way through the programme, brought the house down.
Stand-outs in the second half were the beautifully poignant ‘Before the Parade Passes By’ from Hello Dolly, and the penultimate song, Novello’s ‘My Life Belongs to You’, which was sung as a thank you to us, the audience, and received a well-deserved standing ovation in return.
Dallas and Carr’s duet, Sondheim’s ‘You’re Gonna Love Tomorrow’ was the only number which didn’t quite work for me, caused simply by Carr’s inability to match Dallas’ vocal strength, but their shared sense of fun papered over the cracks and it seemed churlish not to join the party. In the second half of the show, as Lorna Dallas smiled out at the crowd at the end of a heartfelt rendition of ‘Bill’ from Showboat, an enthusiastic audience member shouted out ‘Still got it!’ And yes, she certainly has.
Reviewed by Rebecca Crankshaw
Photography by Darren Bell
performs one more ‘Home Again’ show at Live at Zedel at The Crazy Coqs on Tuesday July 4th.