Sing For Your Supper

Music by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, devised by David Benedict, Simon Green and David Shrubsole
Cadogan Hall
(2009)

Photos of the cast

We've all heard of Rodgers and Hammerstein and their endless list of classic hit musicals; however many of us are less familiar with the duo of Rodgers and Hart.

Lorenz Hart was Richard Rodgers's partner before the runaway success with Oscar Hammerstein. That is not to say that Rodgers and Hart weren't successful. It's fair to say that most of us couldn't name a single musical they wrote but that's not to say that there weren't hidden gems within these shows. Songs such as "Lady is a Tramp", "Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered" and "Manhattan" have certainly stood the test of time, even if the shows they come from haven't.

Sing for your Supper is a sophisticated affair, performed by Simon Green, Graham Bickley, Tim Howar, Maria Friedman and Mary Carewe who are all oozing with elegance. Songs are punctuated with a commentary from Simon Green who seems far more comfortable with this role than as a singer. Green tells tales of Rodgers & Hart's turbulent relationship, the stories behind certain songs and other little bits of trivia. Who knew that "Blue Moon" went through so many incarnations until the perfect lyrics were written to marry with the infamous melody? Tim Howar's performance of this classic song is exquisite as his rich, velvety tone leaves the audience hanging on his every note.

Lesser known songs are weaved in along side of favourites. Carewe and Friedman's harmonious "Why Can't I?" is beautifully delivered, followed by a wonderful composition of "This Can't Be Love" and "It's Got to Be Love".

Of course, not surprisingly, the show stopping moment is delivered by Maria Friedman's glorious rendition of "Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered". Even when she forgets a lyric she still manages to captivate an audience with her natural ability to really communicate a song.

After a night of Rodgers and Hart music one can see why they didn't quite set the world on fire in the way that Rodgers' later collaboration did. However, there are many intoxicating songs to be discovered in their repertoire that are certainly worth celebrating.

Until 9th August 2009

Reviewer: Rachel Sheridan