A Spoonful of Sherman (St James Theatre)
The revue celebrating the work of the Sherman Brothers left our reviewer with a spring in her step
The Sherman Brothers are two of the most famous songwriters in film history. I doubt there is a person alive who can't at least hum a song from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang or who doesn't think about "A Spoonful of Sugar" whenever they're cleaning. But what may be unknown is that the Sherman family have been writing songs for three generations and during A Spoonful of Sherman the audience are taken on a wonderful trip down memory lane and treated to an amazing cornucopia of some of the best of the family's talents.
A Spoonful of Sherman features top West End singers, Stuart Matthew Price, Greg Castiglioni, Charlotte Wakefield and Emma Williams alongside Robert Sherman's son Robbie – who is himself a writer of musicals. Robbie narrates the evening with a clear sense of pride. The heartwarming stories about his family really give a personal touch to the evening. Projections of family photos and memories of their lives give extra feeling and emotion to the songs. It brings a new meaning to many of the lyrics when you understand their backgrounds and this makes the evening that little bit more special.
The most important part - the singing - is also rather beautiful. The fact that the quartet are musical stars themselves brings a sense of vigour to these timeless classics as they interact with one another and really perform them, bringing the characters to life for just a moment. The star of the show is the incredible Emma Williams; the original stage Truly Scrumptious. She has the most beautiful voice, she captivates the audience and adapts her voice wonderfully for the various styles of songs.
It was interesting listening to the songs out of the context of the musicals and also listening to them properly as an adult. The lyrics are quire stunning and the expertise and immense talent of the Sherman Brothers shines through. Their songs are powerful and emotive – they're not all about sickly sweet Disney themes, these songs really are beautifully crafted. One particularly emotional moment was when Robbie Sherman took to the piano to play "River Song" from Tom Sawyer, written for him by his father.
I am not going to pretend that you will enjoy this if you are not a fan of Disney musicals or of the Sherman Brothers. You will not be turned around from disliking that sweet style that they produce. However, if you love a bit of nostaligia, enjoy flying a kite, singing with orangutans, feeding the birds or wondered what the wonderful thing about Tiggers is, you will have a Truly Scrumptious evening at A Spoonful of Sherman. Leaving the theatre with a spring in my step, I don't expect my sugar rush from this evening to be over for some time.