Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Audra McDonald’

It’s good to welcome the First Lady of Broadway to these shores, in a proper show too, albeit a one-woman one. We’ve only seen her before in concert, and only once in recent years. This show seeks to recreate a Billy Holiday concert before a tiny audience in a Philadelphia nightclub shortly before her death and its a virtuoso performance by Audra McDonald. 

Wyndham’s Theatre has had a makeover, with cabaret seating onstage and in the front stalls. Interspersed with the fifteen songs, accompanied by an onstage piano bass & drums jazz trio, an intoxicated Billy tells us things about her life, including her mother’s dalliance with the oldest profession, her dad’s desertion, sexual abuse, the men in her life, prison and her Carnegie Hall triumph. It becomes increasingly uncomfortable as you watch her breaking down before your very eyes, though when she sings it’s heavenly.

Even though its only 100 unbroken minutes, I felt it outstayed its welcome a bit and left me feeling somewhat depressed at the tragic life, but that takes nothing away from an extraordinary performance which had you on the edge of her seat willing Billy, forgetting you were watching a characterisation rather than a real person.

It has to be seen, but I’d like to welcome her back again with something more uplifting.

Read Full Post »