This was rather like listening to Mellow Magic during a long car journey. A lot of the songs had a lot of meaning, but if you’re after a bit of song and dance, or something even moderately upbeat, one would have to go elsewhere. In the end, however, why not play to one’s strengths? Christine Andreas has a beautiful and crystal clear delivery of every lyric in her selection of songs, which include one or two ‘mashups’, even if her musical director (and husband) Martin Silvestri points out that when they were first put together, they were still called ‘medleys’. Fair play to them for keeping up with the times.
Some songs were put in because they’re great songs and tell their own story, without any additional commentary. Others that were introduced did not, strictly speaking, require explanation, but the context and personal anecdotes provided useful insights into Andreas’ ways of thinking. I did find it slightly amusing that she was at pains to repeatedly point out that this was not a political show, before going on to quote Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the United States House of Representatives. I hasten to add these were positive remarks from Pelosi, which do not have a British equivalent from any senior politician in Blighty, at least not recently: “I myself think that one of the ways that America will heal is through the arts. I truly believe that’s something where we find our common ground. You enjoy music together, you see a play or movie, you laugh, you cry, you’re inspired…”
While Andreas calls for “a little happiness, dammit”, the emphasis was on ‘little’ – most of the proceedings were thoughtful and poignant in nature rather than witty and hilarious. It was, at least for me, an eye-opening performance. She sang, for instance, about “falling in love with love”, which is a concept I’ve not come across before, and I wonder if certain relationships out there would be substantially improved if some thought was given with regards to their own approach to love itself in the first place, rather than attempting to apportion blame or manage expectations.
Autobiographical elements in the storytelling inevitably gave the show a personal touch. Talk of expressing “our unique selves” and cultivating virtue (whatever that really means) may seem more than a bit airy-fairy at surface level, but Andreas seems to want to explore ways in which ‘the arts’ really can be the fullest possible expression of humanity. This is a progression from campaigning for states and governments to even recognise the arts exist in a global pandemic, to putting the money where the mouth is. It’s practically a challenge, as if to say: okay, you’ve talked about the importance of the arts and what the world would look like if all forms of artistic expression were permanently removed from society. But how, as audiences continue to return to venues – well, the venues that survived the pandemic – can people, practically and realistically, continue to ‘be kind’ and compassionate in a world that seems to be so polarising?
It wasn’t all so philosophical. Wonderfully combining ‘Some Enchanted Evening’ with ‘Younger Than Springtime’, both from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific, Andreas and Silvestri would have done well to have thrown in a couple more duets. A refined and elegant performance from a seasoned actress with a magnetic stage presence.
Review by Chris Omaweng
If you are finding it a little challenging navigating the current waters of life in the UK… as we are in the USA… well…so is Christine Andreas. To encourage herself, she put together ‘AND SO IT GOES… Life & Love, Lost & Found’. Expect a night of soulful and encouraging songs that will keep your heart resilient, buoyed, and on course. Songs will include Billy Joel, Leonard Cohen, John Lennon, Bernstein, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Cahn & Van Heusen, and more. And should you need to be reminded how well you will be entertained…
Christine Andreas ‘And So It Goes’
Life & Love, Lost & Found