Rodgers, Hammerstein & Hart
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
What is it about Richard Rodgers and his writing partners - or, to put it in Hammerstein speak: "how do you solve a problem like Lorenz Hart"? Rodgers & Hart is this reviewer's all-time favourite music-writing partnership, but this show was another occasion where the translation of its songs from the jazz milieu to the concert stage disappointed.
The shows that spawned such evergreen numbers as Have You Met Miss Jones? and Blue Moon are long forgotten and the songs survived thanks to jazz musicians and singers. Yet, and perhaps ironically, it was the Rodgers & Hart numbers performed with a straightforward, strings-heavy, arrangement by the Scottish Concert Orchestra, rather than an attempt at jazz instrumentation, that worked best on Monday.
Isn't It Romantic?, crooned enchantingly by Matthew Cammelle, and Spring Is Here, elegantly sung by Tim Howar, were stand-outs, along with the latter's duet, with Celia Graham, on I Wish I Were In Love Again.
Considerably less successful, on the Rodgers & Hart front, was Gillian Bevan's Bewitched, which was quite pleasing until the climax. Yes, the singer goes from starry-eyed to eyes-wide-open in the space of a short piano solo, but Bevan turned from Mr Hyde into Dr Jekyll with a Hammer-worthy hamminess.
The Rodgers & Hammerstein songs - written for the "modern" musical and bigger, splashier and more sweepingly, straight-forwardly romantic than the intimate, bittersweet Hart songs - fared better, though some arrangements seemed thread-bare and thin when they should have been velvety and luxurious.