The intimate space of the St James Studio, a mix of tables, chairs, sofas and gentle background music feels more like a trendy New York wine bar than a London basement. So, is the perfect setting for ‘The World Goes Round’, a song cycle celebrating the music of Kander and Ebb.
Composer John Kander and Lyricist Fred Ebb are responsible for some of the biggest Broadway hits including ‘Cabaret’ ‘Chicago’ and ‘Fosse’. They also scored several movies and are probably best known for ‘New York, New York’
With so many songs to choose from could the cast of five do a full two hour song cycle justice?
Having earned her West End stripes in shows such as ‘Chicago’ and ‘The Bodyguard’ it’s not surprising that Debbie Kurup opens the show with a powerful performance that sets the tone for the evening. She has that rare talent of seeming to connect with every member of the audience simultaneously and has a smile almost as big as her vocal talents. Performing ‘All That Jazz’ and ‘My Colouring Book’ left us in no doubt how versatile Debbie Kurup is.
Another West End alumni, Oliver Tompsett has a rich chocolate-like voice that makes every song he sings, seem to finish far too soon. ‘Kiss of the Spiderwoman’ is his standout performance of the evening although it’s very difficult to choose just one.
Steffan Lloyd-Evans is a wonderfully expressive performer, moulding his face and body to the lyrics and music, with ‘Mr Cellophane’ and ‘Marry Me’ standing out in particular. His duet with Oliver Tompsett is quite wonderful and I could have listened to it over and over again.
Alexandra Da Silva is wonderful throughout, but really comes in to her own at the top of Act 2 with ‘Ring Them Bells’. Sally Samad also has some outstanding moments, especially in ‘The Rink’.
The live band on stage led by Kris Rawlinson look youthful and fresh-faced, but play like they’ve been together for decades.
Full of wonderful songs like the highly caffeinated ‘Coffee in a Cardboard Cup’ or the sweet ‘Sara Lee’ this is a show that will have you smiling throughout. (The finale is particularly wonderful in this respect).
The cast of five compliment each other beautifully and, if look very closely, you’ll be able to see the tell-take signs of how much they admire and respect each other.
‘The World Goes Round’ is a must-see for musical lovers.