SEASONS OF LARSON – West End

In Concerts, London theatre, Musicals, Opinion, Reviews by Jonathan BazLeave a Comment

★★★
Lyric Theatre, London – 25 January 2016
Guest reviewer: Heather Lloyd

Jonathan Larson died tragically young, aged just 35. A writer who touched so many lives, it was an inspired idea that saw Katy Lipson and Guy James mark the twentieth anniversary of his passing by staging a concert to remember the man and his work. Seasons Of Larson was a journey back to “the end of the millennium” for an emotional rollercoaster of songs, chosen to represent Larson’s best.

The evening had pre-recorded tributes from its performers played out as voicemails throughout the concert – a clever nod to Rent – which despite being cutely anecdotal style stories, in actual fact provided the audience with an opportunity to check back in to reality, shuffle themselves in their seat and prepare for the next (and for the most part self-indulgent) turn.

Notwithstanding perhaps a little too much eye-closing, air-grabbing and (ahem) lyric-dropping there were some dazzling moments that stunned the audience, none finer than Debbie Kurup’s Come To Your Senses from Tick Tick Boom. Kurup’s performance stole the show, proving utterly believable from beginning to end.

There was light relief from the endearing Noel Sullivan whose comedy timing and vocals were both on point as he delivered One Of These Days towards the end of the Spring Season, with the sassy Krysten Cummings adding many more laugh out loud moments in Out Tonight and Break Out The Booze.

Subtle and clever staging from Grant Murphy allowed the cast room to breathe, nicely making way for Anton Stephans’ rendition of I’ll Cover You to totally bring the house down.

The predominantly Renthead audience were clearly hungry for anything from that show. Within seconds of hearing the opening bar of any number, excitable murmurs and ear-pricking would ensue, none more so than for Seasons of Love. The song aptly fronted the concert’s second half, as of course it does the show and performed by the whole cast, it proved a very special and unique act two opening.
The evening proved a lovely tribute to the writer, with neat musical direction from Gareth Bretherton. Here’s hoping a Larson show may come back to the London theatre scene soon.

Guest reviewer: Heather Lloyd

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Jonathan Baz
Theatre critic Jonathan Baz is London-based but with a coverage that extends far beyond the capital to include regional theatre as well as occasional forays into Europe and the USA. He enjoys reviewing new writing as much as seeing fresh interpretations of well-known plays and musicals. Jonathan also sits on the judging panel of London's Off West End Awards ("the Offies") and has published numerous interviews and features with leading figures in the film and theatre world. Away from the arts, Jonathan is a practising Chartered Accountant with a number of clients in the entertainment industries. He blogs at www.jonathanbaz.com and tweets at @MrJonathanBaz.
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Jonathan Baz on RssJonathan Baz on Twitter
Jonathan Baz
Theatre critic Jonathan Baz is London-based but with a coverage that extends far beyond the capital to include regional theatre as well as occasional forays into Europe and the USA. He enjoys reviewing new writing as much as seeing fresh interpretations of well-known plays and musicals. Jonathan also sits on the judging panel of London's Off West End Awards ("the Offies") and has published numerous interviews and features with leading figures in the film and theatre world. Away from the arts, Jonathan is a practising Chartered Accountant with a number of clients in the entertainment industries. He blogs at www.jonathanbaz.com and tweets at @MrJonathanBaz.

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