Liza Pulman Sings Streisand – 4 Stars


Liza Pulman Sings Streisand

Live at Zedel, Crazy Coqs

Reviewed – 26th March 2018


“fills the space with her voice, her personality and her affection for the material she is singing”


It’s quite a feat to squeeze a six-piece band into the intimate space of The Crazy Coqs; part cabaret club and part cocktail lounge tucked away deep beneath the streets of Piccadilly. But whereas the band take up pretty much all of the stage, it is Liza Pulman who fills the space with her voice, her personality and her affection for the material she is singing. 

She makes clear from the start that this is not a tribute act or any over indulgent homage to Barbara Streisand. Her stamp is indelibly her own, and although she clearly holds Streisand in high esteem, she doesn’t demand that the audience do the same. For me, at least, what is being showcased are the many composers and songwriters behind Streisand’s phenomenal success. And, of course, Pulman herself.

Accompanied by her band, the Stardust Ensemble, she kicks off with ‘Don’t Rain On My Parade’ before launching into a refreshingly upbeat, Bossa Nova rendition of Carole King’s ‘You’ve Got a Friend’. Touches like this set the tone for the evening. You may be overfamiliar with the original tune but Liza, aided by her MD and musical arranger Joseph Atkins, has a knack of breaking away from the usual treatment of a song. Later on in the set, during ‘New York State of Mind’; where Billy Joel drops his register in the bridge, she soars; the purity of her sustained notes replacing the original melancholy vibe of the song with the promise that anything is possible.

Ballads are interspersed with lighter, more uptempo tunes such as Harold Rome’s ‘I Can Get It For You Wholesale’, Fats Waller’s ‘Keepin’ Out of Mischief Now’, Paul McCartney’s ‘Honey Pie’ and ‘Second Hand Rose’ from the Broadway hit that catapulted Streisand to fame in the sixties. But Liza comes into her own when she wraps the warmth of her voice around (to name only a few of the highlights) the Streisand penned ‘Evergreen’, Marvin Hamlisch’s ‘The Way We Were’, Randy Newman’s ‘I’ll Be Home’ and the gorgeous ‘I Wish You Love’, half sung in French to the solo accompaniment of Atkin’s accordion.

The set list is peppered with anecdotal banter giving us an insight into her own, and also, Streisand’s career and personal life. Her self-deprecatory manner with the audience is relaxed and engaging, yet at times does feel as precisely orchestrated as the songs. But there is no denying her command of the material and her affection covers not just every note of the tunes but extends to her musicians and to the audience.

I must admit, I was fearing an evening of schmaltz, but with Pulman’s early operatic background and later career in Musical Theatre, she sweeps away the undertones with her heartfelt renditions. You don’t need to be a fan of Streisand to appreciate Liza Pulman’s performance. You don’t need to be a fan of the sometimes middle-of-the-road material, nor a fan of cabaret or Musical Theatre, or Hollywood. But after ninety minutes in Liza’s company, you will almost certainly become a fan of her.


Reviewed by Jonathan Evans


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Liza Pulman Sings Streisand

Live at Zedel, Crazy Coqs



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