Friday, June 18

The Callaway Sisters: Side By Side (Online)

Following successful previous collaborations, multi-talented sisters, Ann Hampton Callaway and Liz Callaway join forces again for their delightful live-streamed concert-‘Side By Side’.

In addition to starring on stage in the likes of ‘Evita’ and ‘Cats’, Liz has provided the singing vocals for animated characters such as Jasmine in ‘Aladdin’ and the titular role in ‘Anastasia’. Ann, who has extensive credits as a composer, appeared in the Broadway musical, ‘Swing’ and the film, ‘The Good Shepherd’. Both are prolific recording and cabaret artists. The Tony-nominated pair have performed around the world together to great acclaim in their shows: ‘Sibling Revelry’, ‘Boom’ and ‘Broadway The Calla-way!’

The joy felt by both at their reunion after a 14-month pandemic imposed separation has been the inspiration for their new project. The event, performed in Ann’s home, combines songs which encompass their various musical influences accompanied by stories from the two contrasting artists. The clarity of Liz’s vibrant soprano tones beautifully compliments the rich timbre of Ann’s husky jazz fuelled vocals and vice versa.

The natural rapport of the sisters is apparent immediately as the two launch into ‘Side By Side’, featuring witty coronavirus related references. ‘Here Come The Callaways’, written by Ann, entertains with its whimsical observations upon famous show business families. Melissa Manchester’s ‘Come In From The Rain’ is given added meaning with its topical relevance. A glitch in Van Morrison’s ‘Moondance’ is handled with humour by Liz and Ann, serving to charm their audience. Other highlights include the sisters’ spirited take on ‘Corner Of The Sky’, the amusing ‘Back Seat Of The Car Medley’ and Ann’s moving solo, ‘My Buddy/Old Friend’. Dialogue between numbers, which can be tiresome in other similar events, is here unforced and engaging. The siblings seem to understand just how much of it is acceptable between numbers.

Liz and Ann come into their own with ‘The Huge Medley’ which features snatches from many of the songs suggested to them as potential inclusions for their joint shows. Delivered with expert comic timing and verve this runs the gamut from Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer’s disco hit, ‘Enough Is Enough’ to ‘I Still Believe’ from ‘Miss Saigon’ (in which Liz appeared). Their closing number is a heartfelt rendition of Carole King’s ‘You’ve Got A Friend.’

‘The Callaway Sisters: Side By Side’ is, like the ladies themselves, endearing and likeable. This is, from them, a musical treat reflective of the happiness of a long awaited post lockdown family gathering.

The Callaway Sisters: Side By Side is available on demand until May 31st www.jazzvox.com/shows/callaways/

Reviewer: Chris Hughes

Reviewed: 24th May 2021

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★

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