'LOVE AND WAR'
Love and War:The Songs of Howard Goodall
A new musical revue
This intimate four hander revue uses Goodall's evocative music to weave a story about what happens to two couples when the men are called off to war, and how they are all changed when the war is over. Produced by All Star Productions at Ye Olde Rose And Crown Theatre in Walthamstow, the revue opened on 21 February and runs until 10 March.
“…[Goodall’s] thrilling musical theatre repertoire is a relatively untapped source of wonder. Shows like The Hired Man, Girlfriends and Love Story never had the West End runs they deserved; many more haven’t been seen there at all, but are full of haunting, evocative melodies that demand to be heard.
…an evening that resonates with ravishing songs and aches with feeling.
While Andrew Lloyd Webber may have hit the commercial bulls-eye with shows that appeal to a general international public, Goodall has a more particular Englishness, drawn from a choral tradition, that is entirely its own sound, establishing mood with a naked purity that is frequently heart-rending. Never mind Lloyd Webber’s music of the night; here is music of the soul.
The songs…have been discretely folded into a cohesive whole to amplify the relationships of two couples, against the backdrop of wars that the men go to fight. They are performed with panache and rapture by a wonderful quartet that comprises Terrie-May McNulty, Jennifer Redston, Steven Sparling and Michael Stacey, beautifully supported by an offstage band. The result is an unmissable celebration of a great talent, executed with taste and tenderness.”
Mark Shenton, The Stage 27 February 2012
“Love and War gives us a narrative-based frame for Goodall’s songs, which means we can’t help but engage with the piece as if it were a formally structured musical.
…the songs themselves stood out as examples of Goodall’s talent. ‘Pasta’, a patter-song documenting the diet of struggling twenty-somethings, and ‘We Dance On’, a darker number about the grim determination to dance through the Blitz, generated momentum that kept our attention truly fixed. Michael Stacey brought the house down with ‘Nocturnes’, a funny and touching song about passing on our cultural identity through the music we play to children.
The beautiful set by Sarah Booth consisted of an impressionistic blur which served as a seascape, the sky over the trenches, and the swirls of history: a literal collage to emphasise the show’s directorial approach.”
James Robert Ball, Broadway Baby.com February 2012
“So many lovely songs and four lovely singers.
The opening chorus is Days of Hope performed in delicious harmony by the company, And it is followed immediately by the pure voice and charm of Jennifer Radston with a song from The Hired Man - "You never see the sun" which is about living in the town and the delights of the countryside. These songs are perfectly echoed by Sarah Booth's setting of rolling hills with an ocean or lake in the distance giving depth and variation to the background. The huge rock which takes up most of the acting space acts as furniture for the singers to sing or stand on. A clever conception and so evocative that one can almost smell the grassy earth and the distant sea .
In addition to exquisite love songs, Goodall has an ear for a great comic rhyming as in the Pasta Song which is performed by Michael Stacey and Terri-May McNulty i e 'Donizetti/Spaghetti,' 'cannelloni/mascarpone' and " For the Cognoscenti there is plenty".
Perhaps one of my favourites is 'Nocturne' sung by Steven Sparling. How he is going to introduce music into his children's life. Among the classical music is the line "I know they'll love Joplin, both Janice and Scott" and the constantly reiterated coda "and of course - the Beatles"
There are certain phrases that live in the head."What makes you so quick to judge and so slow to understand?" And the final song - the same as the opening 'Days of Hope' - is left running around in your brain long after the show is finished. An exquisitely lyrical and uplifting musical evening.”
Aline Waites Remotegoat.co.uk February 2012
“… this enterprising venue has devised a musical revue showcasing c.30 songs from 8 of Goodall’s 10 musicals. Hearing them all together is conclusive proof that …he’s still the best British musical theatre composer we’ve had in the last 30 years.
Goodall’s 28-year career has been bookended by his two best shows – The Hired Man in 1984 and Love Story in 2010 – but there are other lovely chamber pieces like Days of Hope, whose title song opens and closes this compilation and is one of the best of the evening. His musical style is uniquely British, with beautiful melodies and excellent lyrics…
Lydia Milman Schmidt and Aaron Clingham have made a good selection and ordered them well. Sarah Booth’s impressionistic design provides a nice simple setting for the themes of love and war, which do seem to recur in Goodall’s work. The combination of piano (Aaron Clingham) and cello (Maria Rodriguez Reina) is perfect for this music,
Jennifer Redson, Terrie-May McNulty, Steven Sparling and Michael Stacey acted the songs… This brings out the stories they tell and the emotions they convey and makes them more moving; they brought a tear to my eyes (and theirs!) more than once.
…a very beautiful [evening] which proved well worth crossing London for.”
Gareth James Culture and Travel Blog 27 February 2012