Showtune Heaven In Jerry’s Girls

By Londonist Last edited 112 months ago

Last Updated 10 March 2015

Showtune Heaven In Jerry’s Girls ★★★★☆ 4

Anna-Jane Casey and Sophie Byrne in Jerry's Girls. Photo by Darren Bell.

Londonist Rating: ★★★★☆

On an intimate stage in the studio of the St James Theatre, a talented female trio pays homage to American showtune legend Jerry Herman. They take us through his most famous works including Gypsy, Hello Dolly and Mame, with each performer bringing a distinctive vocal style and humour to songs he wrote over the latter half of the twentieth century.

Beyond the voices, each performer has an impressive quirk: whether it's Anna Jane Casey’s dance moves, Sarah Louis Young’s clever impersonations or Ria Jones’ priceless facial expressions, the show provides non-stop entertainment from beginning to end. The trio is also accompanied by the very talented ‘reed-ist’ Sophie Byrne (who later also doubles as a human Christmas tree) plus pianist Edward Courte. Coupled with their smart use of a tricky space, sky-high levels of energy and fun choreography, this quintuplet cooks up a classy and entertaining evening.

The narrative focuses on Herman’s career and includes audio recordings of him being interviewed. But the songs are what it’s all about and these range from the cheesiest to the most dramatic (Christmas in March, anyone?) with the audience’s favourite moment being ‘Put it Back On’ (following ‘Take It Off’, naturally).

Throughout the show, the singers make sly jibes at Jerry’s Girls, the women who secured fame through Herman’s music, whose portraits hang on the walls. The use of props was also pleasingly ad hoc, akin to rummaging through grandma’s cupboard to find top hats, parasols, and pink feather boas that can be whipped out to add flamboyance or gravitas to the number at hand. And just when you thought it couldn’t get any rowdier, the women — who have already tap-danced their hearts out — come out banging the heck out of a range of different sized drums. If ever there existed a heaven for showtunes, Jerry’s Girls might just be it.

Jerry’s Girls runs until March 15 at the St James Theatre Studio. Tickets £18. Londonist saw this show on a complimentary ticket.