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Catherine Lima’s ‘Love Letter to Broadway’ at Crazy Coqs

Catherine Lima’s Love Letter to Broadway
(Crazy Coqs, 30 July 2022. Live review by Romy Summers)

Catherine Lima (centre). Photo credit Joanne Gould

It is great to see how Catherine Lima is developing both as a singer and as a programme-builder. She built a fascinating show about Peggy Lee with which she made her Ronnie Scott’s debut (REVIEWED HERE), and in her new show “Love Letter to Broadway” she has significantly broadened the canvas on which she chooses to work. She also seemed to have an instinctive understanding of how to build rapport and communication in the Crazy Coqs room.  

Using well-chosen stories to link the elements of the programme together is another area where her craft is developing. Whether telling us vivid stories about the origins of Tin Pan Alley, or the love-lives (and drink-lives) of the great songwriters, she held the audience’s attention and kept us entertained and focused with this history lesson that included many laughs.

She is irreistibly drawn to create pairings of songs, mini-medleys, and to make the joins between them invisible so we as the audience suddenly find ourselves in a new song before we are aware we’ve left the old one. It is quite a feat. So “Slap that Bass” somehow segues seamlessly into “Fascinatin’ Rhythm”, “Summertime” magically morphs into “It Ain’t Necessarily So”. It is alchemical, it is clever, but it always feels right. And her co-conspirators and accomplices do a fine job too: expressive pianist/MD Paul Higgs, strong-toned bassist Alex Keen and wonderfully propulsive drummer Jason Campbell.

There were some stand-out moments. The uncertainty, the questioning, the emotion of Sondheim’s “Losing my Mind” were conveyed touchingly and sincerely. By contrast, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Gonna Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair” had energy, sass…. and high quality diction.

A very fine evening, and another impressive step forward for Catherine Lima.

LINK: Catherine Lima’s website

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