Touring – reviewed at the Lyric Theatre, London (returns 10 June & 11 July 2019)
This tribute to the career of Neil Diamond is a lively affair with a great song selection.
Confession time. I went into this lively and entertaining show with very little knowledge of Neil Diamond’s music – but thanks to A Beautiful Noise I have certainly a new found appreciation for his music – not only as a charismatic singer but also his talent as a songwriter.
Taking us through songs such as ‘Brooklyn Roads’ , ‘Forever in Blue Jeans’ and ‘Hello Again Hello’, Fisher Stevens, a line up of talented musicians and singers Samantha Palin and Rebecca Cole take audiences on a musical journey that is filled with variety and is extremely insightful.
Vocally, it is possible for you to close your eyes and think that Stevens is in fact Neil Diamond serenading you with beautiful renditions of ‘He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother’ (with poignant projections of all those who have inspired Diamond over the years) and the stunning duet with Palin on ‘You Don’t Bring Me Flowers’.
But it is not just on vocals that Stevens makes this evening particularly successful – it is the way in which he engages with the audience, encourages them to have the best time possible with great grace and charisma that is delightful to watch. In particular, the way in which he (although he doesn’t need to provide much encouragement) persuades people to help him sing along to ‘Play Me’ is well handled.
Stevens also has great support in the live band who handle each song brilliantly – delicately during the slower numbers, but fully delighting in letting go when it comes to the big numbers such as ‘I’m A Believer’. There are the occasional moments when it feels as though the music tends to overpower the vocals slightly – but this is a minor complaint when it is clear that the audience is having a great time.
While it is great that the show is so predominantly focused on the music side, it would have great and interesting to hear more about the background to Neil Diamond (particularly if you know very little about him) – but there is certainly no denying that this is a show designed for the fans.
Designed to be a crowdpleaser, you will leave the theatre feeling uplifted and highly entertained by it all – oh and singing ‘Sweet Caroline’!
By Emma Clarendon
A Beautiful Noise continues to tour the UK before returning to the Lyric Theatre on the 10th June and 11th July.