Thursday, 25 February 2021

REVIEW: Songs For A New World (Lambert Jackson Productions)

Back to theatreland with ‘Songs For A New World’, a Lambert Jackson Productions, directed by Séimí Campbell takes us back in time to life in the first lockdown, as we see the development of Jason Robert Brown’s song cycle portrayed by four well known Musical Theatre artists; Cedric Neal, Rachel John, Rachel Tucker & Ramin Karimloo. The collection of songs examines life, love and the choices that we make as it transports audiences through time and space. The piece has made many songs centre around the state of the world in Summer 2020 and gives a reflection on this. 

The first thing I will say is that as soon as ‘Opening: The New World’ begins I immediately got goosebumps. There is something about Jason’s music that will always bring nostalgia and a massive well done is needed for Josh Winstone and the band for collectively producing such a wonderful arrangement. The setting is very zoom style with all actors performing the work into their cameras/iPhones. With this, it gives a raw and unpolished finished as we enter their personal homes during life in the first lockdown, shout-out to Rachel John for colour coordinating her outfits with the things in her kitchen and garden. 

The four individuals have an element of uniqueness in their voices and characters. The combination of this provides a recipe of pure bliss as we are taken on a journey of immersion which is actually four incredible performers singing to incredible music. One magical moment for me in the show was the fresh graduate, Shem Omari James, singing the number ‘The Steam Train’ accompanied by the rest of the cast. This was truly vibrant and an optimistic outlook of the future of theatre and I'm very excited to see more of him.

The only irritation I found with the piece was that, at certain times, the harmonies and crispness of the actors were slightly off. Due to the recording of the production and also the different flares in all their voices. I imagine this wasn’t an issue when they blended together live and in person, unfortunately I found myself slightly losing the magic, however it didn’t completely offend me.

Each artist also got to showcase a solo song in the show and they demonstrated how they can all hold their own and it was a pleasure. Firstly, Rachel Tucker had me laughing in a comical rendition of ‘Just One Step’ where the edge of her sofa took the position of the balcony and this home edition of it really did make me chuckle. Next Rachel John left me in a place of comfort as I watched her sing ‘I’m Not Afraid of Anything’ from her couch which was a beautiful setting and added that extra bit for the character. Opening Act 2, Ramin Karimloo had me drawn straight back into the show with ‘The World Was Dancing’ a powerful song that was 100% backed by his beautiful and flawless vocals. Lastly, ‘King of The World’ sung by Cedric Neal had such gravitas and strength, I believed every word and was so captivated, I literally stood up to give it the standing ovation it deserved. 

A truly magical piece of theatre, that was a breath of fresh air to watch and from reviews and word of mouth, this production only became better when it was brought to life. With such an impressive cast, only beauty would have been created and in this version, they did not disappoint in the slightest!

Review by Corey Mitchell

Rating: ★★★★

Seat: Online | Price of Ticket: £15.00 plus transaction fee

Blog Design by pipdig