People

****
4 stars

People is a musical revue with over 20 songs based on the theme of love. The highly expressive lyrics began as poems written by David Levin, who is also the show’s Director, and were set to music by an array of renowned composers. The immediate impression I had when the show finished was of the intense and raw emotions that many of the songs evoke.

The songs are performed continuously with no linking dialogue. They are mostly highly individual compositions performed by Cassidy Jansen, Lindsay Danvers and Steven Wren. The songs do place extreme demands on the artistes and they come through with flying colours. A word of praise is due to Jim Beales, Musical Director and Pianist, and Robin Mason, Cellist, as they are playing throughout.

The majority of songs deal with darker side of love lost or unfulfilled. Three songs stood out for me which also demonstrated the talent of each of the three performers. There is a Jungle, a song about the complexity of the human personality was given a lively performance by Steven Wren (music by Rick Wentworth). Lindsay Danvers gave a powerful performance of The Good Times (music by Sally Beamish) in which a middle aged woman accepts her declining appearance but she still has fond memories of her youth. Are you there (music by Georgios Athanasopoulos) performed by Cassidy Jansen is the most heart rending expression of apparent desertion by a former lover.

The one drawback in the show is perhaps the lack of balance – just a few more upbeat songs to celebrate the joy of love to lighten the mood. Nonetheless, it was a completely absorbing and, at times, moving experience.

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