Out of our Heads in London: The Music of Kooman and Dimond at St Andrew’s Holborn Sunday 2nd December 2012
Michael Kooman and Christopher Dimond are as yet relatively unknown in the UK- although after last night I feel sure that this sorry state of affairs will soon change – so they need a little introduction. They are young, American composers of musical theatre; Kooman writes the music and Dimond the lyrics; and they are making quite a name for themselves Stateside, winning the first ever Lorenz Hart Award for promising musical theatre, amongst other accolades.
ILIADebuts, a UK company dedicated to introducing International Artistes, organised last night’s concert, a medley of their songs attended by the boys themselves, and I’m very glad they did.
St Andrew’s Church in Holborn is not the ideal venue for musical theatre, being large, brightly lit and acoustically challenging. The fact that the evening was so enjoyable despite these drawbacks is tribute to the quality both of the writers and the performers.
And what performers they were. It was a starry night, with a plethora of talent drawn from the casts of Wicked, Sister Act and Les Miserables to name but a few, and it was a privilege to hear and see them in such a relatively intimate setting. Standout performances came from Rebecca Trehearn in a soaring, romantic ballad and Jonathan Williams whose vocal range is truly breathtaking.
Kooman and Dimond clearly have a great talent for comic songs, and these were generally the best received. The rambunctious The Temp and the Receptionist was reminiscent of Victoria Wood at her best, performed with glee and verve by Chloe Hart and Sam Lupton. To Excess, sung by Jeremy Legat, was gloriously, surprisingly creepy, and the amazing Hannah Levane in Random Black Girl left us laughing and marvelling in equal measure. Some of the slower songs, such as Beautiful Mistake, sung by Sarah Harlington were touching and beautiful.
The problem is of course that, taken out of context, only the most exceptional musical theatre numbers are capable of standing alone in such a forum, no matter how talented the performer. Inevitably some of the less flamboyant pieces, such as Drift, came across as a little generic and uninspired.
Overall however the evening came as a delightful surprise. The privilege of seeing something performed for the very first time is a great thrill and all the more so when, as in this case, you can be sure that what you are watching is going to become a Very Big Thing indeed. And when Kooman and Dimond hit the big time over here, I will be very proud to say that I was there at the beginning.
By Genni Trickett
Monday 3rd December 2012