The Lyric Theatre, QPAC in Brisbane
“And The Money Kept Rolling in”
A musical revue of Lord Lloyd’s most famous numbers and his other contributions to musical theatre.
The phenomenon of Andy Webber is not one that you can easily escape when you love musical theatre. Say what you will, the man can write a show tune and has earned unimaginable sums of money doing so. Here we were presented with another opportunity to give him more of our well-earned cash. But it seems our ticket went towards more than just talented Australian actors and a chair as the set was made entirely of giant LCD screens and light bulbs. The poster for each show appeared as they sung to handily let us know what we were listening to. The man of the hour himself even appeared on screen to talk about his work but unfortunately only twice. And as one who hates technology taking over, I took delight in noting that one of the screens froze and shut down before the end of the show.
Picking and choosing songs from Andy’s shows is not an easy task. On the one hand he has classics like ‘Don’t Cry For Me Argentina’ and ‘Memory’ that people outside the world of musical theatre may be drawn in to see. They were in luck with simple bog-standard issues of these old hits. Yet the hard-core fans are always after that something extra, luckily we were supplied with tastes of his latest work and new interpretations of some classics. The promise on the poster of some Love Never Dies songs was certainly a draw card for me. The song ‘Till I Hear You sing’ cannot be performed enough. As many times as I had listened to Ramin Kimarloo sing from my CD player, a real performance was such a treat to Australian audiences who had a while to go before they could see the show in Melbourne. The song is destined to become another classic. The same cannot be said for the actual song ‘Love Never Dies’ which simply seemed wooden. The song is great in the musical but without the knowledge of the situation, it’s a pretty bland song. We were also treated to a more hammed up version of ‘On This Night of A Thousand Stars’ and blown away by a rendition of ‘Whistle Down the Wind’ which was shockingly that actresses only solo. They did well to skim over his less successful work, with only a song or two from Tell Me on a Sunday, The Woman in White and Starlight Express. But including Skimbleshanks the Railway Cat from Cats may have been an oversight. Everyone has their favourites so there will be some disappointment over what was or wasn’t sung. For me the sins of omission include ‘As If We Never Said Goodbye‘ from Sunset Boulevard and every other song in The Phantom of the Opera.
The LCD screens were put to their best use during ‘The Phantom of the Opera.’ They stole the beautiful images from the movie for setting (which shows the film version has at least one use). Better still was the performance itself. In the actual show the song is played while the actors float above on the raff or prepare to make their iconic entrance into the lair. As much as I love The Phantom of the Opera, I regret not being able to see the actors for half of this brilliant song. Here was my one opportunity and luckily I was graced with a seasoned Phantom. Boasting a powerful voice and the right emotional pull, the song was — as it should be — the highlight of the night.