Ticketmaster Summer in Stages

Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered

Songs by Rodgers and Hart
Jermyn Street Theatre
(2011)

Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered production photo

Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered is a charming, easy going show of the songs of Rodgers and Hart. The five strong cast sings through some classics such as ‘My Funny Valentine’ and ‘Johnny One Note’ and also some lesser known songs such as ‘He Was Too Good To Me’, which was cut from Simple Simon.

The show opens with film number ‘Hollywood Party’. The singers quickly establish their strength as a company, singing close harmonies and merging their voices together cleanly. Though there isn’t a lot of dancing in the show, what dancing they do do is cheeky and fun - though perhaps the tap break in ‘You Musn’t Kick It Around’ does let it down a bit.

Particular highlights of Act One are ‘Way Out West’, sung by Katie Kerr, and ‘To Keep My Love Alive’ by Laura Armstrong. Both singers display strong voices and a good sense for comedy. They contrast nicely with Kerr’s high belt and Armstrong’s clear soprano.

Act One ends a little disappointingly on a quiet note; whilst the close harmonies are gentle and well executed, a higher energy number than the mix of ‘Quiet Night’ and ‘Where or When’ would have been more satisfying.

Act Two - though it opens with the deeply satisfying ’Sing For Your Supper’, sung by the well matched trio of women - continues on the quiet note and becomes too heavy on the ballads and sentimental murmurings. Valerie Cutko is given more of a chance to shine now; though her more mature alto may not quite have the vocal strength of the other two women, she makes up for it in soul and vulnerability.

The two men of the show, Stephen Ashfield and director Tim McArthur, manage to get in a good rendition of ‘Come With Me’, but their songs in general aren’t quite as well chosen as the women’s - whilst Stephen Ashfield does a lovely ‘A Tree In The Park’ in the first act, he doesn’t seem to get the same amount of comedy as the rest of the cast, possibly because his easy tenor is well suited to gentle ballads.

The show is skilfully accompanied on the piano by musical director David Harvey, and performed on a set by Russell Fisher. Against the black walls, the simple design of a few pictures, an arch, a table and a few feathers make the stage seem lavish like a plush New York cabaret club.

It’s not a show to set the world on fire, but it’s a polished performance from some strong vocalists. A must for Rodgers and Hart fans, a pleasant evening out for everyone else.

Reviewer: Emma Berge