Tag Archives: Jonathan Eio

The Sunday Night Singers present the Music of Jonathan Eiø, Canal Cafe Theatre

27 Jun

I attended The SUNDAY NIGHT SINGERS present the Music of Jonathan Eiø at the Canal Cafe Theatre yesterday. Jonathan was joined by Natalie Green, James Bisp, Laura Cottrell, Simon Ouldred, Amanda Roberts and Alex Ruocco, as well as Katie Brayben and Adam Rhys-Davies, who are both currently in John & Jen at the Landor Theatre.

As well as singing Jonathan Eiø’s own songs, they also performed songs from composers such as Jason Robert Brown and others. It was a perfect mix of comic songs and ballads and the cast was great. I especially liked the voices of James Bisp and Laura Cottrell.

I liked all the songs, but the highlights for me were:

Simon Ouldred’s first song. I unfortunately didn’t catch its title, but it was hilarious, as were his facial expressions.

I loved the song from John & Jen that Katie Brayben and Adam Rhys-Davies sang and it made me wish I could go and see it, which I unfortunately can’t. But the story sounds very intriguing and they both have great voices.

Around, sung by Alex Ruocco. It’s such a catchy song, I found it impossible to get it out my head for days after I first listened to it.

Sandbox is another incredibly beautiful song written by Jonathan Eiø. I love the lyrics.

Somehow, sung by James Bisp and Hey Louise, sung by Jonathan Eiø himself with the rest of the cast joining in, are my favourite songs on his album. James’s got one of the best voices I’ve ever heard.

I really enjoyed the afternoon, in spite of the incredible heat. How the singers coped I will never know, especially Simon Ouldred who came on in a jumper for aforementioned song.

Jonathan Eiø’s two albums are available from Dress Circle or iTunes. They are both great, but I think I slightly prefer the second one. It’s very easy to listen to and perfect to just relax.He writes stunning ballads, but also great uptempo songs.

He will also be a guest at Jack Shalloo’s cabaret at the Battersea Barge in August, for which you can book tickets here.

Spring Awakening, UK Tour

10 Jun

When Frank Wedekind’s play Frühlings Erwachen – Eine Kindertragödie was published in 1891 it caused a scandal and it wasn’t until 1906 that it was performed at the Berliner Kammerspiele under the direction of Max Reinhardt. For decades it had been banned or subjected to censorship due to its alleged obscene content.

While some people claim that the play is now dated, I couldn’t disagree more and this musical adaption shows that it is still as relevant as it was when Wedekind first wrote it. Suicide is one of the most common causes of death among teenagers, teenage pregnancies, peer pressure – it all still exists.

I must admit that I wasn’t won over by the musical when I saw it during it’s very short West End run a couple of years ago. I liked the songs, but it didn’t move me in any way. I’ve read the original play many times and it’s one of the most intense and thought-provoking plays I know, but the performances left me completely cold.

That, however, has changed now. I thought this cast was phenomenal. Victoria Serra (Wendla) has a lovely voice and was very believable. Both Billy Cullum (Moritz) and Jonathan Eio (Melchior) have strong voices, but is was their acting that impressed me most. It was so honest and sincere, I personally don’t know how they manage to go through all these emotion every day (or even twice a day). And Then There Were None, Don’t Do Sadness, Left Behind and Those You’ve Known were the highlights of the show for me.

James Benn (Hanschen) and Zachary Morris (Ernst) worked very well together, and for once there was no laughing during their scene in Act II.

I liked Anna McGarahan’s voice in The Dark I Know Well, it blended so well with Jill Armour’s (Ilse), but I still think that the staging of this song is dreadful. It just didn’t work for me and lost all its impact.

Daniel Buckley (Otto),  Natalie Green (Thea), Jess Mack (Anna), Dale Page (Georg), Jane Stanton (Adult Woman), Robert Eyles (Adult Male) were good too, though they have less to work with than the others.

The only weakness of the production is, in my opinion, the direction. Some of it works really well, but other scenes (such as the aforementioned The Dark I Know Well and the graveyard scene) just don’t and are awkward to watch. The talented cast make up for this, however, and I’m glad I saw it.

I did wonder though, to what extent the German surnames and their meanings are lost on an English audience. Not that it’s really important, it just crossed my mind.