Touring – reviewed at Live at Zedel, London
One-third of cabaret group, Fascinating Aida, Liza Pulman is on the road once again with her show that celebrates and honours the icon that is Barbra Streisand.
Pulman and her phenomenal band The Stardust Ensemble have created a vibrant 90-minute set which showcases Streisand’s fantastic career and musical style. Pulman takes pieces from Streisand’s remarkable six decades of music and weaves them into an entertaining show which fuses wit and personal anecdotes.
Streisand has a huge catalogue of songs so of course, they can’t all be performed, but Pulman brings together a variety of well and lesser-known pieces to draw together Streisand’s vast career whilst making each and every one her own.
Whilst taking influence from Streisand’s vocal technique and attitude to music, Pulman is not trying to be a tribute act. Instead, she shows off her own vocal range and musicality through the stunning music performed.
The night is opened with a pacy version of ‘Don’t Rain On My Parade’ from Funny Girl to which Pulman adds a jazzy, swing feel and sets the tone for the night ahead. Throughout Pulman is witty as she tells the story of Streisand’s life alongside her own personal anecdotes which wind the two together.
A personal favourite moment for me came a few songs in with an expressive and energetic rendition of Miss Marmelstein. Delving into the story Liza explained that Barbra has only actually been in two Broadway musicals (perhaps due to her self confessed fear of performing), the first being I Can Get It for You Wholesale. The show received lukewarm reactions until Ms Streisand stepped out in act two to perform this song, received an instant mid-show ovation and was catapulted to fame! Liza shows off her humourous side in this fantastic lament about no one calling her by her first name. Ironically, when this song was released by Columbia Records, Barbra’s name was spelt wrong!
Accompanied by Andy Taylor’s beautiful guitar playing, Liza gave a moving performance of Sleeping Bee before shining with New York State of Mind. After a brief interval for a costume change, Liza showed of her’s and Barbra’s diversity with an emotional performance of You Don’t Bring Me Flowers. The Stardust Ensemble led by MD Joseph Atkins were stellar throughout and seemed to love performing alongside Liza. Their chemistry is evident and it’s really lovely to watch.
The night ended with two of Barbra’s most iconic songs, Happy Days Are Here Again and People, both of which were performed astoundingly by Liza who’s vocal range and stability is impeccable. Her charisma and natural stage presence draws the audience in and her knowledge and love for Barbra Streisand helps the night flow in an entertaining but sincere way. I don’t doubt that Barbra would be honoured to hear and see Liza’s fantastic celebration of her music and career.