The Song Book Revue

The Delphi Theatre Company
Etcetera Theatre
(2009)

Musical theatre has absolutely seen a revival in recent years thanks to the influx of reality programmes in which we, the audience, hand-pick our cast. There has never been a lack of musical theatre performers but now there is certainly an ever growing audience to pack out not only the big West End shows but also the smaller fringe productions which showcase London's emerging talent.

The Song Book Revue is an example of such show. Without question it is a testament to the hard work and dedication of these young performers and, whilst it may not be perfect, that doesn't really matter as it's just a great opportunity for both performers and composers to get their work out there.

I said it doesn't matter if it's perfect, which is just as well as The Song Book Revue is far from that. There are some questionable lyrics, some unmemorable melodies and some rather cheesy performances but, on the other hand, there are songs that show real promise and some cracking voices.

"Straits of Magellan" is a lovely narrative piece performed beautifully by Josh Boyd-Rochford and Cristin Curtin's emotional rendition of "I Won't Mind" by Jeff Blumenkrantz is a touching moment. However on the flip side there are also songs such as the completely unimaginative "Reunion" by S. Carlile & Linda Rocco O'Connell.

This small cast work well together even if the harmonies aren't always spot on and it does tend to be a little sickly sweet at times. Musical theatre may not be the edgiest of performance styles but there are a little too many cute smiles and nods to each other for my liking, combined with the mystified, slightly startled expressions that spread across the cast's faces as they look above the audience feigning sincerity.

However despite these criticisms, ultimately The Song Book Revue is a charming evening of entertainment and as worthy of our attention for spotting new talent as any reality show.

Reviewer: Rachel Sheridan