Shannon Daley: Love and Let Die: Confessions of a Bond Girl

  • Post author:
  • Reading time:3 mins read

Shannon Daley

Love and Let Die: Confessions of a Bond Girl

Don’t Tell Mama, NYC, June 28, 2024

Reviewed by Bart Greenberg

Shannon Daley

Sometimes things that happen in a cabaret room aren’t really cabaret. Love and Let Die: Confessions of a Bond Girl is musical theater, perhaps jukebox musical theater, but theater nonetheless. It stars, was written and costumed, and has film editing by the remarkable Shannon Daley. In it, she completely embodied her character of Sylvia Trench, the longtime woman in a master spy’s life. Discretion may have more or less kept her out of the public eye, as did the many films that recounted his escapades, but she was always there in the background, admiring, loving, waiting for, and mooning over him, no matter what his face was wearing at the time. The show, under the deft direction of Lennie Watts, was campy and heartbreaking, absurd and very romantic, witty and very serious—quite an achievement.

The musical content consisted of the songs from the various James Bond films, from Thunderball to Spectre, along with some clever mixing in of other standards, such as a blend of “Diamonds Are Forever” (Don Black/John Barry) and the best-known Broadway tune sung by the most famous expert on diamonds. The arrangements by music director John Fischer were inventive and expanded the songs’ impact well beyond what piano and bass (Jerry DeVore) could do in support of Daley’s powerful voice.

The star’s delivery varied throughout the show, which provided variety. She went from being glamorous and sultry in “You Only Live Twice” (John Barry/Leslie Bricusse) to being powerfully emotional in the great ballad “For Your Eyes Only” (Bill Conti /Michael Leeson). She wonderfully torched “Moonraker” (Hal David/Barry) and displayed a sardonic sense of humor in “Mister Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” (Bricusse/Barry). The extensive videos helped to illustrate the story and added some wry humor of their own, such as when Pierce Brosnan’s used binoculars to have check out Daniel Craigh as he emerged from the ocean. Daley’s costumes throughout were fabulous, glamorous, and just a bit camp.

The only flaw of the evening was a bit too much of everything. One less video montage, one less costume change, and some tightening of the spoken word in both editing and delivery would have greatly improved the show. A return to the rehearsal room by Daley, Fischer, and Watts would pay off and polish this intriguing show. Hats off to Adam DeCarlo who coordinated the lighting, sound, and videos smoothly and with great imaginations.

Bart Greenberg

Bart Greenberg first discovered cabaret a few weeks after arriving in New York City by seeing Julie Wilson and William Roy performing Stephen Sondheim and Cole Porter outdoors at Rockefeller Center. It was instant love for both Ms. Wilson and the art form. Some years later, he was given the opportunity to create his own series of cabaret shows while working at Tower Records. "Any Wednesday" was born, a weekly half-hour performance by a singer promoting a new CD release. Ann Hampton Callaway launched the series. When Tower shut down, Bart was lucky to move the program across the street to Barnes & Noble, where it thrived under the generous support of the company. The series received both The MAC Board of Directors Award and The Bistro Award. Some of the performers who took part in "Any Wednesday" include Barbara Fasano and Eric Comstock, Tony Desare, Andrea Marcovicci, Carole Bufford, the Karens, Akers, Mason and Oberlin, and Julie Wilson. Privately, Greenberg is happily married to writer/photographer Mark Wallis, who as a performance artist in his native England gathered a major following as "I Am Cereal Killer."

Leave a Reply