Tuesday, July 5

Judy & Liza – Floral Pavillion

What an absolute joy and honour it was to be able to be at the first show at the Floral Pavilion, whose auditorium has been closed to patrons since March last year. The staff and regulations that have been put in place to allow people to feel safe, have definitely done just that.

And what a show to reopen the theatre with! Judy & Liza is a bit like the concert a lot of people would have wanted to see, but never got the chance to. 45 years after they performed together at the London Palladium, this vaudeville-style concert of a show tells us a brief history of Frances ‘Baby’ Gumm and her daughter Liza May Minnelli. It’s been well thought out and put together so well, that at times you forgot you were watching actors playing the roles and not the legends themselves. Helen Sheals as Judy and Emma Dears as Liza were the perfect pair for these roles and made the audience feel welcomed and comfortable. Neither outshone the other and there was time for each of them to have their moment to shine, as well as plenty of duets from the two of them. They both had extremely poignant scenes and both portrayed them with passion and integrity. You could tell that both where in their element, back performing on a stage in front of a live audience and the atmosphere was electric too. There was a well-deserved ovation and from my own perspective, it was not just from the quality of the performances but the joy of being back in a theatre that we’ve missed for so long.

There was a nice eclectic mix of songs, with some obvious choices and nice surprises thrown in too. It was also interesting to learn some of the history behind the two. I was someone who knew the basics of the two legends, so it was lovely to learn more about the two and be able to go back and check out the back catalogue.

For a first evening back at the theatre it was a joy and privilege to be there and I can’t think of a better show to have been the first live performance I went to. It was a memorable evening in more ways than one and the girls should be pleased with what they have created with this piece.

Judy & Liza continues on tour including dates at Brighton Fringe. For full details visit https://www.judyandliza.co.uk/

Reviewer: Jenn McKean

Reviewed: 4th June 2021

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★★

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