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Judy & Liza (Wirral)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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Venue: Floral Pavilion

Where: New Brighton

Not really a fan, I’ll admit; even anticipated dismissing this little lot as ‘Liza with a z-z-z-z ‘ BUT – how on earth can somebody take a song like ‘Over the Rainbow’, so familiar it’s almost hackneyed, and deliver shivers down your spine? A heavenly voice helps, but above all, it’s because this production is lovingly put together, from a stunningly simple idea: it’s the tribute show to outdo all tribute shows.

Basically: take a band, some videos, and a few costume changes (though the latter really shouldn’t involve throwing a cardie over a rather awful gold shift to change the scene a little). Then have Liza relating her mother’s story, with Judy returning the compliment as time goes by.

So it’s down to the two ladies, and voilà, they can sing, dance and act, more than a little. Lucy Williamson (Judy) and Emma Dears (Liza) have fantastic voices, and their performances are spellbinding. Admittedly given two people who certainly lived in interesting times, for all the drama in their lives, it occasionally seems a bit too much of a lovefest, with very little conflict - though Mama could clearly be rather annoying to say the least. Poor old Lorna Luft by the way barely rates a mention, other than in amongst a rather long list of the husbands clocked up between them.

Technically, maybe three stars: erratic lighting, distracting images on the backdrop video when not in use and worst of all, microphones more temperamental than la Garland herself. But glitches are easily fixed, and this show has such potential; full of that elusive star quality. It should be heading West; the West End of course.

-Carole Baldock


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