JERRY’S GIRLS – St James Theatre, London.
“I am what I am”…well if that’s the production talking then Jerry’s Girls is 100% a show-stopping Broadway-style belter! If you love the classic styles of Barbra Streisand, Angela Lansbury and Carol Channing (to name but a few of Jerry’s girls) then this is a show for you.
Performed with great aplomb by Anna-Jane Casey, Ria Jones and Sarah-Louise Young, accompanied by the equally talented musicians Edward Court and Sophie Byrne, the delivery of this show is top-knotch. All three performers use facial expressions to great effect and the incorporation of the musicians into the piece is really great fun – and kudos to Byrne who can tap dance whilst playing the saxophone! Court too is multi-talented: singing, playing the piano and performing a tap solo. Casey’s expressions, nuances and overall performance are outstanding, she easily engages the whole audience and brings fun, energy and warmth. Jones’ rendition of “I am what I am” is breathtaking, a superb performance that takes the show to a high-octane finish. Young presents the coquettish nature of Herman’s songs with wit and endearing charm. Her great vocal range and impressions (particularly of Carol Channing) are show highlights.
Jerry’s Girls is structured really well, taking you through Herman’s songs from Vaudeville, Broadway, Movies and ending with four songs from ‘La Cage Aux Folles’; allowing the whole production to build right up to the end, where the audience are encouraged to join in (adding to the fun, engaging cabaret style of this show).
Matthew Cole’s choreography brings the show to life. It enables the performers, whether three, four or all five of them are involved in the number, to use the whole performance space, props and pieces of furniture with ease and a fluidity that keeps the momentum of the piece going, as well as setting the tone for the relevant number.
The great thing about Jerry’s Girls is that it conjures a wonderful Broadway atmosphere through the songs themselves, readings from Jerry Herman’s book as well as voice clips from interviews with Herman. All of these elements combined create an energetic, yet emotive performance which is handled with great care by the three ‘Jerry’s Girls’. Director Kate Golledge has brought together a team of creatives who are clearly passionate about the work of Jerry Herman and this most definitely comes across, especially in the interesting dialogue sections where the cast reveal insights into Herman’s working life.
Jerry’s Girls is a thoroughly entertaining experience, peppered with glamour, humour and most importantly, fantastic songs.
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By Emily Jones