Lorna Dallas: Home Again

| July 11, 2017

Lorna Dallas

Home Again

Live at Zédel at Crazy Coqs, London, U.K., July 4, 2017

Review by Thanasis Kalantzis for Cabaret Scenes

Lorna Dallas

When we arrived at Live at Zédel at Crazy Coqs for Lorna Dallas’ new show Home Again, the packed room was sizzling with anticipation. I took my seat and looked around.  I was expecting a primarily mature crowd, but I was pleasantly surprised to see a number of people in their twenties and thirties there, along with the loyal troops who have known and followed Dallas since she took the West End by storm appearing as Magnolia in the record breaking revival of Show Boat opposite Dame Cleo Laine, which brought her to the U.K., where she has lived ever since.  The Emmy-nominated singer and actress (Callback) had her own BBC series (Lorna Dallas…My Musical World), has starred in almost every major female role in musical theater, has appeared around the world, can be heard on numerous CDs, including her own, and appeared in films (Inside Out opposite Telly Savalas and, more recently, in United 93).

Her new show, Home Again, is aptly titled: despite her deep love and affection towards cabaret, it has been 20 years since her last appearance, hence the eruption of applause when Dallas entered the room and took her place on stage. And then the magic started.

She set the mood with the fitting “As If We Never Said Goodbye” from Sunset Boulevard that meshed artfully in melody and scope with Sondheim’s “Back in Business.” There you had it: 20 years of absence were all but erased. Dallas and her divine soprano instrument were back.

From then on she gave us showstopper after showstopper. The sublime love song “Summer Me, Winter Me” (Michel Legrand/Alan and Marilyn Bergman) was one of them. She came across it on her “Honeymoon in Vegas” with her beloved late husband Garry Brown while attending a Sinatra show. In the same spirit of remembrance and undying love for Brown, she delivered the beautifully arranged and vocally exquisite triptych “Timeless Thing”/”You and I”/”How Deep Is the Ocean (How High Is the Sky)” (Tom Snow and Amanda McBroom/Leslie Bricusse/Irving Berlin).

With “Younger Than Springtime” (Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein II) she reminded us of her powerhouse soprano abilities, while her interpretation of “One More Spring”—from Barry Kleinbort’s musical 13 Things About Ed Carpolotti, a love song that simply explains and justifies eternal love—she unlocked our hearts and brought tears to our eyes.  

Show Boat’s “You Are Love” could not have been left out from her repertoire, but it was its pairing with “Look in My Heart” (Ivor Novello & Christoper Hassall) that made it shine even brighter.

For her finale, she sang “Once in a Blue Moon” (Jerome Kern & Anne Caldwell). Really, “heaven only happens once in a blue moon.”

Dallas’ lyrical soprano voice is simply formidable in its strength and velvety in its delivery, but that’s not the only reason you cannot take your eyes off of her when she is on stage. With her gestures, simple and unassuming mannerisms, smile, facial expressions, Dallas can interpret the deepest sentiments of the lyrics and bring the song closer to us, creating an intimate rapport and a bridge between her own personal feelings and those of her audience. This flow of information that’s communicated seems to owe a lot to her acting abilities and accumulated stage experience but, Ι’m sure, it has to do with how Dallas perceives the world and her place in it—who she is. I can only wish that she revives this pitch-perfect show in London for those who were not lucky enough to catch it the first time around, and also bring it to your shores so you can experience first hand the return of her unique talent. This is truly a once in a life-time event not to be missed.

Home Again was thoughtfully directed by Barry Kleinbort, who contributed additional lyrics to reflect the spirit of the show, and remarkably arranged by Musical Director Jason Carr who played a divine piano throughout the show—both gentlemen belonging to “Team Dallas” and boasting a long time friendship with the artist.

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Category: Cabaret Reviews, London, London Cabaret Reviews, Regional

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