Clarke Peters – Songs I Love to Sing review at The Pheasantry London
Dizzie Gillespie meets Porgy and Bess, Louis Jordan and Nat King Cole. There is seemingly no end to the talent of Clarke Peters, a household favourite for his TV appearance in The Wire but equally as compelling a stage presence with a unique, deep vocal tone that is able to wrap itself round a song like a hand-tailored glove.
From Chicago to Sondheim and going all the way back to his first West End appearance in Bubbling Brown Sugar, Peters covers decades of material varying greatly in style in pace. However, it is the tongue-in-cheek tunes and comedy point numbers (Feed Me from Little Shop Of Horrors) he seems most at home with.
Stumbling through a wordy Razzle Dazzle, Peters wings his way through various lyric conundrums – but we forgive him as he charmingly looks us straight in the eye and simply moves on to the next number. A last minute band cancellation meant he had to rejig things at the last minute, and pianist Paul Scofield stepped in as MD late in the day.
Reminiscing about his appearances in various hit musicals he saunters casually as if this were a Las Vegas lounge bar. Amusing tales of his leading ladies, talent cast evenings on tour (where the concept for Five Guys Named Moe was born) and personal touches relating to his family and New York background are all heartfelt – though long-winded.
“I have a tendency to ramble” Peters confesses and indeed, the song portion could do with some boosting. Throwing himself into a swinging finale, Jordan’s Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens, Peters comes full circle. He is a rare breed of entertainer who succeeds as he simply sings the songs he loves to sing without adhering to any self-imposed limitations in the process.
The Pheasantry, London, July 8-11
- Clarke Peters
- Musical director/pianist
- Paul Scofield
- Barry Mishon
- Running time
- 1hr 45mins
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