BWW Reviews: THE A-Z OF MRS P Original London Cast Recording
Following its continued run at the Southwark Playhouse, Simon Greiff and SimG Records is releasing the Original London Cast Recording of The A-Z of Mrs P on Monday 24 March. The show catalogues the emotive story of Phyllis Pearsall, the British writer/painter who founded the Geographers' A-Z Map Company. The production has a stellar creative team including Gwyneth Herbert as Composer, playwright Diane Samuels and Tony/Olivier award nominee Sam Bruntrock directing.
The overall production level of this recording is superb. At first glance, it seems a niche story to document but the character of Phyllis Pearsall when you look under the surface is an incredibly interesting one and for that reason makes for a wonderful show. It is becoming more so that strong female characters are being highlighted in musical theatre which is a welcome development to the industry.
Isy Suttie stars as the lead role and she draws every emotion from the music. When tallying up the music to the synopsis, the tone of the story at that particular point shines through. She has a fairly conversational tone to the narrative and therefore is not classical musical theatre but this certainly works for this piece. Suttie expresses strong sentiments in 'Can You Hear Me Mama' and 'Ship Comes In' whereby her bereavements are laid bare.
Gwyneth Herbert alongside Sarah Travis composed the orchestrations which are very clever in my opinion. The production has a real pace to it throughout as if the character is walking/travelling to another place which of course Pearsall did when researching for her book. The way that the music reflects this is quite remarkable. The use of the reed player in 'I Am A Representative' and the accordion in 'Alexander Gross' and 'Something Kind Of' are some of my favourite instances.
The company demonstrate excellent workmanship and ensemble work throughout and their backing vocals are beautiful during the Stiles and Drewe Song of the Year Award 2010 'Lovely London Town' and 'This Is Your Time'. Frances Ruffelle and Michael Matus also feature as Phyllis' parents Bella and Sandor and deliver compelling performances.
The A-Z of Mrs P continues until 29 March at Southwark Playhouse and the recording can be obtained from iTunes or physically at the theatre or at www.SimGProductions.com from 24 March.