I spent my Good Friday at The Pheasantry on King’s Road watching Lily Atkinson (daughter of Rowan Atkinson and Sunetra) dazzle us with her special style of cabaret.
For me, expectations are high when I hear that a celebrity “child” is putting on a cabaret show, as I do wonder if they are really talented or if it is just their money that is providing them with an outlet. When I heard that Lily would be performing a selection of her own songs I wasn’t the most excited of attendees at the sold out venue.
How wrong could I be! Lily is a star performer with a real talent for songwriting and I left her one hour show a fan girl, wanting to download her music (sadly, it’s not yet out there).
Lily is one of those people who come alive on the stage, with every song she sang, regardless of genre, she lived and breathed the music. I could see the passion ooze from her bones and see the music in her body and movement.
Lily and Musical Director Sam Cable put together a one-hour show that truly showcased Lily’s talents; we heard her shift from genre and decade with ease as she belted out songs as diverse as “Three Cool Cats”, “Ave Maria” and “Crazy in Love”. This lady is an embodiment of sass and sultriness with a talent that allows her to perform beautifully regardless of genre – Jazz, Pop and R&B.
It is as if Lily has genuinely put together a playlist of songs that match each part of her personality; an eclectic mix of performance styles and emotions that show us each part of her. A playlist that provides the audience with a song for all seasons and situations. This in itself is a luxury that not many artists can carry off. It is also proof that this lady was born to sing.
For me, the highlights of the show were two songs that Lily wrote herself. The first of these is called “Gonna Pretend I Hate You”. Lily explained to us that she penned this song in 20 minutes when she was a heartbroken 16-year-old – her ambition was/is for this song to be played for years to come by other 16-year-olds. This song was just wonderful, it’s hard to believe that a 16-year-old could experience feelings that can trigger a song like this. The song is still in my head and I can’t wait for her to release her music so I can download it.
The second song that stood out to me was also penned by Lily when she was a little older (although still relatively young – she was only born in 1995 after all). The song is called “Don’t Give Up On Me” and goes out to all those doubters in her life, those who criticised and said she’d never make it. Performed in the acoustic section of the show, accompanied by her guitarist Joel (apparently the pair have performed in every open-mic night in London together) the piece is anthemic and really resonated with my current situation. Again, a song I will be singing to myself until I can download.
Lily has an amazing stage presence – she has a magnetic quality that allows you to get lost in her voice. She performed to the audience, looking each of us in the eye, making us feel she was performing just for us. She connected in a way many singer/songwriters can only dream of. All in all I cannot wait to see this lady again and when she said that she hadn’t prepared an encore I was saddened as I could have watched and listened to her for hours more.
This new woman on the block will go far and I cannot wait until she puts her music out there to buy. I highly recommend that you catch her whilst she is in the smaller intimate venues like The Pheasantry as global stardom is in the pipeline for her. All in all it really was a GOOD FRIDAY for me.
Review by Faye Stockley