Liza Pulman has brought her Autumn tour of Liza Sings Streisand to a close at Wilton’s Music Hall in London. The good news is, it will return in 2018, and it’s packed full of unexpected treats. The show opens with recordings of interviews about Streisand, as the band, and then Liza take to the stage, the short overture giving us a flavour of what’s to come.
Liza makes it clear from the beginning that this is not a tribute act, she neither dresses like Streisand, nor attempts any kind of impersonation either. Her voice is also quite different, with a more operatic tone, but with a huge amount of flexibility, which allows for a very unique interpretation of some Streisand classics.
Between songs, and sometimes in the middle of them, we are treated to snippets of trivia about the life of Barbara Streisand. Many of these little facts drew sounds of surprise from the audience; clearly many of them were fans of the great songstress, but were still learning something new. Even more special, were Pulman’s own thoughts and memories, which helped her to bond with her audience.
There were, of course, a few songs from the two Broadway musicals Streisand appeared in (only two, really?). The first, I Can Get It For You Wholesale, is probably less well known than the second, Funny Girl, but that doesn’t stop Pullman giving a glorious rendition of ‘Miss Marmelstein’.
The first act comes to a powerful end, and the costume change signals something a little different for Act Two. Liza had been holding out on us, because it is after the interval that she truly shows off her vocal abilities, with some incredible performances of real classic numbers.
Each song comes as a pleasant surprise, because Pulman hasn’t settled for the obvious choices. The songs she has chosen span a number of decades, and include numbers by a range of writers, from Billy Barnes to Billy Joel, and even a little Neil Diamond.
It’s evident that Liza has a strong rapport with her band, The Stardust Ensemble led by Joseph Atkins. Not only do they support her beautifully, she gives them the time to shine, and show off their many talents.
Liza Pulman, and Liza Sings Streisand, gives us a wonderful twist on some beautiful songs. The whole evening is thoroughly enjoyable, whether you’re a big ‘Barbra’ fan or not, but more than that, Liza pays real tribute to Streisand, delivered with humour, grace and class.