Review: Emma Whitelaw
FOLLOWING its debut at London's Arts Theatre in November, Notes
From New York continued its run of success on Sunday night.
The atmosphere in the Donmar Warehouse was electric. For a performance
bearing no structure whatsoever, Notes From New York, directed
by David Randall, with musical staging by Paul Spicer, proved
to be as captivating as any other.
Not being a great fan of the musical genre myself, I initially
found the lack of plot somewhat hard to handle, but the performances
of Paul Spicer, Julie Atherton, Debbie Kurup and Craig Purnell,
soon put that to rest.
The evening was a showcase of works by Pulitzer Prize-winner,
Jonathon Larson (Rent, Tick Tick Boom) and the Tony Award-winning
William Finn (A New Brain, Falsettos, Infinite Joy) alongside
a selection of songs by Jason Robert Brown (Songs for a New
World, Parade, The Last Five Years).
In a cabaret-style setting, the audience was treated to an exclusive
preview of contemporary US musical theatre.
Yet to receive a UK or European staging, the performance featured
four songs from Larson's Tick Tick Boom. With international
rights to the show being closely controlled by the Larson Estate,
it was a real privilege for not only the audience but for all
The songs featured were, of course, brilliantly performed by
the four young stars.
Having seen Paul Spicer (pictured) play Billy, in Boy
George's critically acclaimed Taboo, I knew I was not going
to be disappointed.
In fact, all four of them were dazzling, each as talented as
the next. Such performances are inspirational!
Debbie Kurup stole the show, however, with Just One Step
from Jason Robert Brown's Songs for a New World. She had
one-handedly held the audience in fits of laughter, with her comical
rendition of the song, which involves a woman threatening her
partner, Murray, that she is going to jump from a building.
Kurup, currently starring as Dee Dee in Tonight's the Night,
followed that up with an excellent version of Come To Your
Senses, from Tick Tick Boom.
Kurup has the most amazing voice - not only can she reach the
hardest and highest of notes, she was able to hold them there
for what seemed like forever.
As an ensemble, the quartet was just amazing.
Songs like And They're Off (A New Brain), Will I (Rent)
and Hitchhiking Across America (Infinite Joy) were
performed by all members of the group, and sounded brilliant,
as was Louder Than Words (Tick Tick Boom), which
brought the evening to a fitting finale.
Further performances are scheduled for July and September this
year, so if you are keen to get an insight into the latest and
hottest US musical theatre, I recommend you visit www.notesfromnewyork.co.uk