Saturday, 19 October 2013

Petula Clark at The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane

Last Sunday I went to see the lovely Petula Clark at Drury Lane, her only London show this year. Petula has had an incredible career on the stage, screen and record and will always be rightly famed for her optimistic 60s songs that made her a huge star all round the world. Petula was a star before I was born and is still going strong at the age of 80. Her first studio album of new recordings came out earlier this year, 'Lost In You', showing she's still got what it takes.

The format of the show was the same as previous times I've seen Petula - an hour of non-stop songs and chat and reminisces, an interval and then another hour of song and talk. At first she stayed close to the mic stand but then she started roaming the wide stage, visiting different band members, taking over piano duties and going to the front to interact with the audience. At one point she mentioned that Tony Hatch (who wrote most of her 60s classics) was in the audience which got an automatic applause. Petula wrote some of those songs with Tony but she is generally thought of as a singer and actress, not as a writer, which does her a disservice.

Her voice sounded much better than the previous times I've seen her sing live - which I put down to being on tour rather than one-off shows - and she was at the top of her game. We had all the greats, some in full versions and some in medley, songs representing her film career and her stage career. We had songs from the new album and I must say I prefer 'Cut Copy Me' sung live with Petula's great voice rather than the vocoder version on the album. 'With One Look' from 'Sunset Boulevard' was a show-stopper and I loved 'How Are Things In Glocca Morra?' and 'Look To The Rainbow' from 'Finian's Rainbow'. She also did a lovely version of 'Imagine' from the new album but didn't mention being part of the choir on 'Give Peace A Chance'.

How can I pick out favourite songs from an evening full of classic songs? I'll go for 'Round Every Corner', 'I Know A Place', 'Colour My World', 'Who Am I', 'Don't Sleep In The Subway' and a great version of 'Downtown' (that got everyone singing). Those songs will always keep her in the popular memory of those swinging 60s. From the new album we had a great version of 'Cut Copy Me' (with no vocal effects), 'Reflections' and 'Crazy'. And my favourite must be 'I Couldn't Live Without Your Love' (which also got everyone singing). She sang so many other songs, always for the audience and always so professional but, now and then, she seemed to be singing memories to herself (and she must have so many).

Here is the final song of the evening which Petula dedicated to us in the audience, 'Here Comes The Rainbow'.

And thanks to the kind people on Facebook for the photos!

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