"Expressions of love without sentimentality"
by Aline Waites for remotegoat on 09/03/15

St James Studio is one of my favourite venues. It has a remarkably warm, friendly atmosphere and the artists who appear there are always bursting with talent. So often I come out saying ‘this is the best show ever’. After having seen Jerry’s Girls I am forced to say it again.

Anna-Jane Casey, Ria Jones and Sarah-LouiseYoung, Jerry’s girls, charismatic powerful singers, –are just three of the people who make their contribution to this piece of revue/theatre. The orchestra consists of Edward Court, a very tall blonde young man who accompanies them on the piano and the impressive and very pretty Sophie Byrne who plays saxophone, clarinet and flute. Both have surprising hidden talents that are brought out by this positive deluge of special songs from Hello Dolly, Mame, Mack and Mabel, Cage au Folles etc. the list goes on.

Not only do these ladies perform Herman’s songs, they do funny and clever impersonations of his divas. Barbra Streisand, Ethel Merman, Ginger Rogers, Anne Miller, Carol Channing and the rest - none of them escape the satirical treatment. Interspersed with the songs are items of narration from the life of Jerry Herman and some recordings of the man himself.

The whole company are obviously devoted to their material and perform it with enormous zeal and energy. How unfair, though to follow the heartbreaking number about a little boy ‘If he walked into my life’ (Mame) with the love song from Mack and Mabel ‘I won’t send roses’, Two typical Herman songs expressing great love without falling into sentimentality. This was an emotional highlight of the show, turning this reviewer into a sodden mess of tears. Another great presentation, the ridiculous Tap your troubles away’ makes one a helpless wreck for a completely different reason, much of it due to the expert inventive choreography of Matthew Cole.

This tremendous cast are fully deserving of these magnificent songs. At the end of the first act the three girls sing the title songs from Herman’s most famous ladies. ‘Hello Dolly;, ‘Mame’ and ‘When Mabel walks into the room. Each of them takes one of the numbers and then they do a mash of all three numbers at the same time. Stunning.

It is Ria Jones who ends the programme with the song that most summons up the practical reality of of Jerry Herman’s music with the number from Cage au Folles ‘I am what I am’-

The original show was was devised by Jerry Herman in `1981 and this version is expertly directed by Kate Colledge

This is quite definitely the best show ever.

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