Songs I’ll Never Sing is to be presented by The West End Production Company in the wonderful environment of the Studio, St James Theatre, London.
The production is lovingly directed by Oliver Lidert who is a talented West End performer in his own right. Lending his eye to productions like this one, not only illustrates the ambition of the man, but the broad talent of an actor not content with eight shows but broadening his horizons and sharing his abundant talent.
Songs I’ll Never Sing premiered in 2014 at The St James. It was such a success at the time, that the St James quickly booked it for a return performance. This review is a belated response to those performances… due to the exciting announcement that Songs I’ll Never Sing is set to return.
Rachel Johns, who has a very successful career in London’s music theatre scene, among other accomplishments, is the star of this show. She not only possesses a powerful and melodic voice, she is able to perform a variety of material. She also possesses that rare ability to stand on a stage and confidently perform as herself; telling her own stories, presenting her own versions of songs, somehow allowing the audience in. This type of show is perfect for a lady with talent and a very interesting story to tell. Rachel John has both.
The premise of the show is not a new one: an evening where Rachel Johns performs the songs from the roles that she will never get to do. What makes this cabaret a tremendous success is that Rachel’s very personal story, of growing up, and carving out a career is compelling, interesting and very artfully over-layed to great affect.
Kurt Kansley shares the stage with John and is a great support. His piano accompaniment is heart-felt and completely complimentary, at other times fun and engaging. He meets Rachel pound for pound when they sing together and these two polished performers spark off one another in a rapport that is a pleasure to witness and rare to find. Along with Oliver Lidert, Kansley has crafted arrangements that keep the audience engaged. This is a very personal journey, made theatrical with music and humour, performed expertly. Songs from music theatre, pop classics and even spiritual pieces sit alongside classic music theatre stand outs.
What is cabaret? Andrea Marcovicci, in the New York Times, says it best:
“…An evening of song and stories in an intimate space that shatters the “fourth wall.” Part stand-up comic, part balladeer, part evangelist; today’s performer often has a theme that unifies the evening, knows a great deal about the music they’re singing, and share that information in witty and inventive ways. At its best, cabaret can amuse, entertain, and inform…it can dazzle you, catch you unawares and make you weep… The audience participates in a direct, emotional conversation with the artist…”
Songs I’ll Never Sing has it all. It is to be performed in the very classy and inviting Studio, of The St James Theatre. Oliver Lidert and Kurt Kansley have crafted a compelling evening of stories and music performed by one of the West End’s truly talented artists. Rachel John will leave you loving her talent, wanting to hear more, and bouncing out of the St James with a spring in your step. Songs I’ll Never Sing is a first-rate cabaret, full of life, love and music. Do yourself a favour!