As A Spoonful of Sherman, a tribute to three generations of Sherman family music, including childhood classics by the Sherman Brothers, continues Live at Zedel until 20 August 2017, Ian Foster reviews related albums.
“What a happy time we’ll spend” … I’m pretty sure that if you could distill the warmth of Emma Williams’ voice, it would be the basis for the cure to the world’s ills. There are few singers who have that kind of effect on people and it is a travesty that isn’t better known to the world at large. Part of that is a consequence of her admirable devotion to new musical theatre writing which means that her projects haven’t always quite broken through to the mainstream but to those in the know, she’s a real champion of British musical theatre.
Which is a long-winded but deserved introduction to the Original London Cast Recording of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the production in which she made her debut as an 18-year-old in 2002. The Sherman Brothers’ film has long turned into an enduring classic and its score here, enhanced by new numbers for the stage, remains a thing of unalloyed joy. The delicacy of lullabies like ‘Hushabye Mountain’ and ‘Doll On A Music Box’ are just beautiful and in the hands of Williams and Michael Ball, they shimmer gorgeously.
The arrangements across the whole recording still sound fresh and strong 15 years down the line, Brian Blessed, Richard O’Brien and Nichola McAuliffe stand out in their supporting roles, and dig a little deeper and the likes of Scarlett Strallen and Natalie McQueen can be found. A most pleasurable listen.