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Puttin' On The Ritz
Irving Berlin could easily be called last century's greatest song writer. Having lived through the changing and sometimes complex decades of the 20th century, Irving Berlin wrote music that inspired people to sing and dance. His love ballads pulled at the heart strings of many lovestruck couples. Now his music is re-created by award-winning singer and actress, Lucy Maunder, in her show "Irving Berlin: Songs in the Key of Black", as she invites us to come to the Honky Tonk Palace of broken dreams and melodied memories.
Lucy Maunder exudes passion in her voice as she travels through many of Irving Berlin's dazzling songs. "Slumming On Park Avenue", "I'm Putting All My Eggs In One Basket", "Puttin' On The Ritz" and many more superb Berlin songs. The up tempo "Alexander's Ragtime Band" was a toe-tapping treat. Lucy exhibits a strong singing voice with "Mr. Monotony", a number that is not too familiar except to the fans of Irving Berlin. The mournful "What'll I Do" is described by Lucy as Irving's memories of Russia before settling in America.
Songs In The Key Of Black - Photo courtesy of Hayes Theatre
One thing I would have liked to have seen more was the interaction between Lucy Maunder and the musical director, Isaac Hayward, on piano. He added comic relief and it was obvious that Lucy and Isaac had a wonderful rapport. For a brief time on stage, he showed his talent on the piano, adding humour as he stroked the keyboard and flicked his hair back in an exaggerated manner.
Though the venue, Hayes Theatre Co at Potts Point, is an intimate theatre accommodating 120 patrons, fans of Irving Berlin were lapping up Lucy Maunder's performance. They cheered, they clapped, some called out in appreciation and Lucy gave them the songs and repartee that the fans expected from the gifted composer of Irving Berlin.
A Magical Performance - Photo courtesy of Hayes Theatre
Nancye Hayes, a well-known Australian musical legend of which the theatre is named, was in attendance. Hayes Theatre Co provides a permanent home for small-scale musical theatre and cabaret. Lucy Maunder's performance was a delight. She has since released her debut album of the same name featuring songs from the show.