This lovely and heartwarming concert reunites the Tony-nominated sisters with some wonderful performances of classic songs.
There is something special (particularly now) in seeing the joy and warmth of families being reunited as the world slowly begins to reopen again – and this is what is celebrated in Ann Hampton Callaway and Liz Callaway’s virtual concert which sees them reuniting and performing side by side for the first time in 14 months.
First of all it should be said that it is clear that a lot of time and care has been put into the set list which includes a gorgeous rendition of Stephen Schwartz’s ‘Corner of the Sky’, a playful original song ‘Here Come the Callaways’ written by Ann that reflects the bond between both sisters perfectly and a tender rendition of Melissa Manchester and Carole Bayer Sager’s ‘Come in From the Rain’.
Each song selection really captures Liz and Ann’s vocals perfectly – the delicate warmth of Liz’s a great match for depth and smoothness of Ann’s, which can be particularly heard on the wonderful rendition of Stephen Sondheim’s ‘Our Time’ that rounds off the concert nicely. Throughout it is filled with playfulness and joy that makes it completely engaging to watch, thanks to the pair’s natural charm and welcoming nature that it makes the audience feel as though they are in the room with them.
There is so much to be enjoyed in this concert that it seems a shame that we can’t experience it as a in person event (although that is understandable under the current circumstances) – particularly as on occasions it seems as though there were a couple of sound issues. But this is a very minor complaint given just how entertaining this whole concert is.
Particular highlights were the two medleys, the first, the ‘Back-Seat-of-the-Car-Medley’ in which songs that the siblings used to sing in the back of the car are performed including ‘Sugar, Sugar’ and ‘Dance to the Music’, ensuring a very personal vibe to the concert. Meanwhile, ‘The Huge Medley’ is comprised of mainly musical theatre songs that were suggested by people including ‘Get Happy’, ‘Marry the Man Today’ and ‘I Know Him So Well’ – which complements the huge range in the sister’s vocals. It is moments like this that made this a real treat to watch.
It is clear from start to finish just how much joy and enthusiasm that Liz and Ann had in performing side by side again which makes it easy for the audience to simply sit back and appreciate their talent even more. Immensely enjoyable from start to finish.
By Emma Clarendon
The Callaway Sisters: Side by Side is available to watch on demand until the 31st May.