Fresh from winning awards, racking up her third novel, vlogging regularly and quite possibly plotting world domination, Carrie Hope Fletcher has now released her debut album When The Curtain Falls. A pleasingly varied tracklisting sees her cover as much new musical theatre writing (shoutout for the brilliant Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812) as age-old classics, combined with a few family favourites to make an engaging collection.
There’s an innate prettiness to Fletcher’s voice that makes it extremely easy to listen to. And it is an over-riding characteristic across the album, which is fine when it comes to the likes of the sweetly lovely ‘Times Are Hard For Dreamers’ from the short-lived Amélie or the Disney tracks here, or smoothing the edges off of Jason Robert Brown’s ‘What It Means To Be A Friend’.
But as beautifully sung as Little Shop of Horrors’ ‘Somewhere That’s Green’ is, it’s a track that calls out for an underlying grittiness, a desperation of hope that will never be fulfilled. So too Hamilton’s ‘Burn’, it just comes across as too nice rather than the intense cri de coeur that its lyrics suggest. With material as powerful as this, it is hard not to feel Fletcher could afford to inject more personality into her interpretations.
Personally too, I wasn’t much of a fan of some of the more adventurous arrangements by Marc McBride. ‘I Dreamed A Dream’ is most distractingly done – piano, woodwind and drumlines competing against each other to little benefit. And the jazzy cabaret tinge of ‘Let It Go’ feels a little glib, especially with its recorded laughter (though I can imagine it working well live).
However, when things are kept simpler, as in the straightforward sass of ‘They Just Keep Moving The Line’ from NBC’s Smash, or the straight-up fun of Hercules’ ‘I Won’t Say (I’m in Love)’. Or indeed the tender duet from Waitress, ‘You Matter To Me’, sung here with Addams Family co-star Oliver Ormson and wonderfully enhanced with an almost ghostly section of backing vocals, Fletcher’s passion for music is near irresistible.