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The World Goes ‘Round review at St James Theatre, London – ‘striking vocals’

The cast of The World Goes 'Round at St James Theatre, London The cast of The World Goes 'Round at St James Theatre, London
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Following a brief stint at the Pheasantry in Chelsea last year, The World Goes ‘Round, a revue style collection of songs from Broadway greats John Kander and Fred Ebb, transfers to the St James Studio. Originally conceived in 1991, it includes hits from both Chicago and Cabaret but also encompasses lesser known musicals, TV specials and movie work including numbers from Funny Lady and New York, New York.

Neil Eckersley’s production brings together five voices, who between them capture the warmth, wit and wisdom of Ebb’s lyrics while musical director Kris Rawlinson marshals a smooth quartet to interpret John Kander’s music. Individually there are powerful performances from Debbie Kurup, dominating the title number and nailing All That Jazz to Alexandra Da Silva’s evocative Coloured Lights.

Although lacking the choreography that complemented Kander and Ebbs works so succinctly, the big selling point of this production are the harmonies. This collaboration of vocal talent breathes new life to familiar standards such as Cabaret and marries Oliver Tompsett’s smooth I Don’t Remember You to Steffan Lloyd-Evans plaintive Sometimes A Day Goes By. Liberties may be taken with the New York, New York finale, but Kurup soon slaps the anthem back into place with her signature belt.

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A striking array of vocal talent captures the passion and humour of Kander and Ebb's work