Thursday, July 25

Jean-Michel Bernard Plays Lalo Schifrin – Coronet Theatre

Acclaimed French pianist and composer Jean-Michel Bernard is best known for writing, performing, and scoring for films such as Hugo and Be Kind Rewind. But in his second of two nights delighting audiences at Notting Hill’s Coronet Theatre, Bernard played tribute to another icon of the genre, Lalo Schifrin.

Bernard delicately took us along a journey through Schifrin’s music, as well as other compositions inspired by his artistry, for an evening that highlighted the inimitable power of music to transport us to another time and place entirely.

Accompanied by nothing but his piano, simple lighting and an adorable picture of his beloved chihuahua Onion, Bernard had an astutely commanding presence in the characterful space, and his effortless mastery of his instrument was bewitching.

From crowd-pleasing classics like the Mission: Impossible theme to Schifron’s lesser-known works and his own improvisations, Bernard performed every song with a breezy elegance that possessed the ability to soothe and stir at the same time.

Between numbers, Bernard exuded unpretentious charm as he talked directly to the audience and brought us into the world of this beautiful music, fostering a deep sense of intimacy as he talked us through his personal relationship with the music and with Schifrin himself.

For a handful of songs he was joined on stage separately by two singers, Kimiko Ono and Noah Francis Johnson, the latter of whom created an especially memorable moment with his surprisingly soulful version of ‘You’re The One That I Want’ from Grease (yes, you read that right).

His personal friendship and deep fondness for Schifrin — and for the art of music and film scoring itself — couldn’t be more evident, as he spoke about and performed the music with equal warmth.

Jean-Michel Bernard Plays Lalo Schifrin was a touching and entertaining tribute that firmly cement Bernard’s status as one of the greats.

Reviewer: Olivia Cox

Reviewed: 17th May 2024

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.