Label: SimG Records - SimGR-CD02 • Format: CD • Country: UK • Genre: Stage & Screen •
These two delicious divas-in-training have proven that they have the talent, skill and technique Isn’t This What Every Woman Wants? - Caroline Sheen - Raise The Curtain entertain us for many years to come onstage, but just how well do their first solo album efforts showcase their considerable abilities?
All of this appreciable merriment and even a small sampling of "Away In A Manger" courtesy of Mitchell and formidable entertainment comes with mostly unadorned accompaniment, as well, giving these ladies a true chance to shine their clearest and brightest in a solo spotlight all their own! It is a credit to performer-come-producer Simon Greiff that these two albums are as marvelously enchanting and astoundingly accomplished as they are for he reveals such depth of character and brings out truly the very, very best from each of these admittedly amazingly talented singing-stage stars.
Perhaps the foremost fantastic feature of these debut showcases is that both are largely piano-heavy or, in Sheen's case, piano-only affairs affording the more-than-willing performers ample opportunity to give us everything they have possibly got to give.
And, boy oh boy, do they give it! Before any other, let's first give it up to Simon Grieff, for surely these albums would not have been made - and certainly never would have been made remotely as well - if not for him and both are among the best solo albums of the last few years, whether from Broadway or the West End. Shall we count the ways - and reasons Scream Of The Mutants - The Meteors - Mutant Rock why that is so clear to see, taste, touch, experience and, foremost, to hear?
Sure, but that will undoubtedly lead to so many more questions and it seems everything is pointing to "Yes! How to explain the indescribable appeal of Caroline Sheen? In short, and in some ways, Sheen is sort of like the West End's answer to Sutton Foster in her effervescent personality and likeability onstage whatever the weather of her character; whether sunny skies or tropical thunderstorms.
Whatever the weather, if the warhorse wearer is Sheen or Sutton we are acutely well aware that they will wear it well, whatever the ditty or dirge. After all, songs requiring this sort of character commitment require you wear the words like a costume, and the music the very voice and instrument of tragedy - and, sporadically, comedy - itself. Simply put, Sheen can put across a song with palpable panache. The latter is a particularly delectable treat and I hope to hear it on many more cast albums in the future, as is the Olding opener which is a surefire sign of a bright new talent with a true gift for musical theatre songwriting.
This is the cream, not the milk; the wheat, not the chaff; rarified refinement amidst voluminous vulgarity all of this an explanation of not only this song in particular but also the album when considered as a whole. Any score that could afford to lose a song as good as this is a true treasure trove if there ever were any in the last twenty years.
After all: content dictates form, no? Or maybe Sheen is just that good like Paige is. It's quite shocking this song works so well out of context here and on other solo albums - albeit some, such as this one, much more than others which will remain nameless, eye on the positive - but it positively scorches the heart and soul, particularly in Sheen's portrayal of the character of Clara herself here.
She sounds distinctly different, truly sinking into the role and a perfect choice for the part if there ever were Monday - Tyketto - Dig In Deep on the West End stage.
Yes, it is clear to hear here that Sheen is a quite astonishingly versatile actress and her voice is blessed with so much character and style as to always singularly, well, shine with a certain sheen all her own.
Nothing is too wonderful to be true, as is evidently the case with these two ladies of the stage. You may purchase the album at www. Her work in WICKED alongside Idina Menzel was sensational and it is suggested to that show's fans to check out her work here on this lush and lovely solo album for it reveals much more of her abilities as an interpreter of music and lyrics than perhaps any role she has played onstage thus far in her career - plus, she sings another Stephen Schwartz song better than anything in WICKED.
This is a much more dramatic and delicate affair than Sheen's, but Beechey gets just as much a change to flex her dramatic and musical muscles with the all-around exquisite content of the songs chosen here, each and every one an appropriate and carefully crafted confection with elegant and subdued minimalist orchestrations, the tip-top production quality never wavering for even a mere instant giving us the feeling of Give It A Listen - Various - The Cornerstone Player 019 perfectly captured aural performance.
The content and result is precise, measured and sporadically quite entrancingly ethereal, all the while remaining exceptionally entertaining and fast-flowing, propulsive in its force as it paints a pleasing dramatic arc for the listener.
It flows; it dives; it soars. This being a mere taste of her performance as Cinderella in a fringe production of that show, the mind nearly boggles at the prospect Isn’t This What Every Woman Wants? - Caroline Sheen - Raise The Curtain her taking on roles in other Sondheim shows Dot, Clara, Sky Train - Frank Duval - Greatest Hits given her deep understanding of subtext Isn’t This What Every Woman Wants?
- Caroline Sheen - Raise The Curtain seemingly indomitable commitment to character. It is in the intimacy and elegance of Grieff's production that the most detailed of accents is sonically addressed and available, an admirable feat in and of itself given an average album's abrasive and thick sound quality today.
It is as if we are really in the room with her - as is also the case on Sheen's more showy and stylized album, which fits her character as much as the stripped-down, mostly bare-bones milieu benefits Beechey's best songs, such as the three fantastic duets and first three tracks. Who is this guy and why haven't I heard of him before? I simply cannot wait to hear more from him. She paints a perfect picture of a siren - at least sonically - on these songs. These three tracks taken together create a conflagration that is singularly scorching and affecting leaving the listener near-breathless in the wake of the drama, pathos Isn’t This What Every Woman Wants?
- Caroline Sheen - Raise The Curtain tears of this lusty lady with Isn’t This What Every Woman Wants? - Caroline Sheen - Raise The Curtain torch in her grasp and a song within the heart on her sleeve. Beechey - like Sheen - embodies, thus lives her lyrics, and the results inform each and every one of her performance choices here, all well-chosen and endearing.
She is always equally the actress and the singer of the song. Like the last song of Sheen's album quite expertly sums up the experience of her first solo sonic showcase, so does Beechey with hers: she is always excellent, always affecting, always spot-on sincere and, above all, superlative in each chosen endeavor.
Brava, ladies! Neither Sheen nor Beechey have chosen the expected, well-worn path of their predecessors in the West End, on Broadway or beyond, and instead have chosen to give credence to lesser-known and subsequently all-the-more championable material by singing the songs of Isn’t This What Every Woman Wants? - Caroline Sheen - Raise The Curtain terrifically talented songwriters such as those we have on parade here, these albums certainly are not the umpteenth Sondheim collection or Gershwin tribute, though I suppose those have their place with the right performers and material and time and place.
Like Audra McDonald has done in her solo album career in America along with the wise and rightly respected producers at Nonesuch saw to fruition alongside her, like Grieff has done for the women hereso do Caroline Sheen and Annalene Beechey reveal themselves to be Thuis - Arthur Umbgrove & Birgit Schuurman - Stilte Opname (File, Album) show-people spokespeople for this generation of British musical and lyrical geniuses.
Higher praise this reviewer could not lavish upon them for the Strumpets For Breakfast - Darling Picassos - Onomatopoeia attempt at accomplishing that feat of bringing new musical theatre voices to a wider audience. This is especially true - and painfully evident - now, especially today, especially in the wake of a season like we have had on Broadway this season and the one before, and the one before, and the one before Undoubtedly, both of these albums are excellent examples of how to choose the perfect material and showcase the right performer at the height of their abilities with as little adornment and affectation as possible - after all, we have to remember that not every stage star sounds best on a solo album: orchestras and auto-tune can cover up any number of performative deficiencies.
To be perfectly frank: few performers or producers Heart Of Glass (Disco Version) - Blondie - Parallel Lines solo albums very well at all anymore, actually, and it is no coincidence that very few solo albums make it into this column simply because anything worthy of less than a 5 or 6 on the scale is really not worthy of discussion given the time and consideration given to the subjects discussed here each week.
Who has that kind of time to waste of middle-of-the-road-ery? Not you, not me. This double-dose, these two triumphant solo albums are each, on their own, nearly twice as good as what passes for original and interesting and good these days. It is a joy to find a new label with such strong introductory releases as these from Sheen and Beechey on SimG. Take a chance and dive in, the water's just fine - crystalline, really, as it is clear to see the talent these two possess.
In spades Or Queens. Both albums are availible for purchase at www. Do not miss either one! Broadway Shows Broadway Musicals. Jersey Boys Save on Tix!
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