Darlington Hippodrome – until 14 March 2018.
Robert J Sherman’s A Spoonful of Sherman is his showcase tribute to the remarkable talent and history of his family. His Grandfather Al Sherman, his father Robert B Sherman and uncle Richard M Sherman and showing that talent is in the gene’s, some of his own stuff too.
With more than 50 songs in just over 90 minutes of performance this is a wander through the songs of our childhood. Al Sherman was an accomplished Tin Pan Alley writer in his day whose songs were recorded by everyone from Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday to Sinatra and Duke Ellington. Robert and Richard, got into a song-writing partnership as a result of their father giving them a challenge once he had become convinced that neither one of them was going to be write the next great American novel and symphony. Their most celebrated years coincided with their period as staff songwriters for Walt Disney, but what is remarkable is how they then transferred themselves seamlessly to other film franchises and to Broadway in the 1970s. And the new musical versions of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Mary Poppins in recent years.
Directed and choreographed by Stewart Nicholls, the quintet of Sophie-Louise Dann, Glenn Facey, Jenna Innes, Mark Read and Ben Stock expertly fly through a myriad of tunes from three generations with the aid of just two pianos which Stock, as MD, ably assisted by Read, master with consummate ease. As well as the well known songs like Winnie the Pooh, The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers, A Spoonful of Sugar, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, Chim-Chim-Cher-ee, I wanna Be Like You and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. We were also treated to earlier work like You’re Sixteen and the song that brought them to Disney, Tall Paul. And later stuff too like songs from The Slipper and the Rose and the deeply irritating It’s A Small World After All. On to the fabulous new stuff by Robert J himself; Love Birds, Crunchy Crackers and The Dream I Never Dreamed which were showcased at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2015 from the musical Love Birds.
The set was highly detailed, with drawers that acted as steps, seats and dance platforms. Amazing choreographed piano’s and intricate details from the songs hidden in plain view – a jar of “Toot Sweets”, a model of Cinderella’s carriage, a model of certain flying car, Mary Poppins parrot umbrella and a very old but much loved Winnie the Pooh bear sat on a shelf.
A Spoonful of Sherman is a nostalgic trip down memory lane. Ending with some of their most memorable songs that we were encouraged to join in with because who doesn’t love a good old-fashioned sing along? It’s an uncomplicated show with some fascinating insights and songs you will know and love.
In Darlington until Wednesday 14th and on tour around the UK