"Langsbury's songs and stories told"
by Philip Herbert for remotegoat on 17/10/15

I was really looking forward to Fiona Jane Weston 's ' Looking For Lansbury ' at The St James Studio. First things first it takes a lot of guts and a lot of talent to pull-off a one man / one woman show . Ms Weston has certainly researched the subject matter - even to the point of joining the Jessica Fletcher Appreciation Society and tells us tales from her early life right up to today - Angela Lansbury's 90th Birthday ( there was even a huge cake and a lot of candles too ! )

Featuring William Godfrey at the piano ( a sort of jovial headmaster ) and co-written / devised by Patrick Lambe ( who also directs ) along with Ms Weston . There were nerves at the beginning - it was the first night and the reviewers were in - but the voice did eventually settle and we could relax a little .

Twenty odd songs and A LOT of dialogue did at times prove too much and lines were sometimes forgotten and lyrics lost - but she got on with it and at times shone too . The big numbers like ' I Had A Dream ' from Gypsy and 'Open A New Window ' from Mame went well along with ' A Taste of Honey ' .

A clever device of a suitcase of stories - a well used prop bringing out clues and memorabilia
as the story unfolded . Failed marriages , drug using teenage children and even the jobs she didn't get were explored fully and whilst 'acting out ' each scenario our leading lady smiled throughout . From Movies to Broadway - Shakespeare to West End hits and still at it - Miss Lansbury has certainly done it all .

The M.D did have to prompt once but we all laughed and let her get on . The audience seemed to know the lyrics too and we were asked to sing along from time to time too .
We learnt a lot too about her early wages 28 Dollars in a beauty shop to 500 Dollars for her first film contract . She was always it seems asked to play older women in supporting roles and her frustration got to her - so much so that she ' gave in her notice ' and left . The Bedknobs & Broomsticks section proved a hit and Sweeney Todd too .

Jessica Fletcher made her a household name ( and financially secure ) and I'm sure the Appreciation Society was ' in ' because every time her name was mentioned there was a cheer from upstairs . Surrounded by friends and admirers the show finished well - after periods of tame and polite applause we felt a thank you was well due and the encore was well received too .

There was a whiff of the Am-Drams about it all but the couple beside me seemed to enjoy it - although I did hear some disgruntled mumblings as I left so I was not alone . Being offered cake as one left the building was a new one on me - and I politely refused .

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