BWW Reviews: ADELAIDE CABARET FESTIVAL 2014: ANTHONY WARLOW AND FAITH PRINCE: DIRECT FROM BROADWAY Brings the Stars of Annie Together in Adelaide
Reviewed Tuesday 10th June 2014
Musical theatre fans rushed to see Anthony Warlow and Faith Prince: Direct From Broadway. Australian, and now world star, Warlow, has always been a much loved visitor to Adelaide. Doubling the excitement is that he has brought with him his co-star from the Broadway production of Annie, Tony Award winner, Faith Prince, who played Miss Hannigan to his Daddy Warbucks. With the concert advertised as being packed with show tunes to be sung by such luminaries, it just had to be a sure fire winner at the box office. It simply couldn't fail, could it?
On top of that, there were the thirty members of the marvellous Adelaide Art Orchestra backing the duo, musicians that have been getting comments from all of the overseas artists with whom they have been working who can hardly believe how good they are, comments such as "this is the best pick up orchestra that I have ever worked with". We, in Adelaide, already knew how sensational they are, but it is always great to hear such high praise from international artists who travel the world and have worked with countless local orchestras and individual musicians.
A thrilling rendition of the overture from Gypsy by the orchestra began the show, followed by Anthony Warlow singing Just in Time from Bells Are Ringing, a standard that has been sung by all of the great names. Stephen Sondheim's music didn't take long to appear as Faith Prince entered to sing Broadway Baby, from Follies, segueing into Miss Adelaide's song from Guys and Dolls, Adelaide's Lament. Music of the Night, from Phantom of the Opera just had to turn up, but Warlow only gave us a snippet, then we were back to Bells Are Ringing for It's a Perfect Relationship.
Warlow said to Prince "It's all about you and me", and so it was. This was an eclectic and random collection of songs from a wide range of unrelated Broadway shows, with no connecting theme or narrative, a concert rather than a cabaret performance. For knowledgeable musical theatre fans, it was fun matching songs with the shows that they came from, but those not in the know many of the numbers might well have been rather obscure, and introductions to each number were not given.
At one stage Warlow took Rock-a-Bye Your Baby (With a Dixie Melody) and impersonated a range of people who had never sung it, including Jimmy Cagney, Cary Grant, and Dean Martin, stealing the routine from Sammy Davis Jnr., who used it on his Australian tour back in 1977. Some of us have long memories, and Sammy did it better. Warlow did, though, add Michael Crawford, in the Frank Spencer character, Walter Brennan and a few others.
Songs and shows whizzed past at a great pace and fans of Warlow were very happy to hear his marvellous voice. Newcomers to Faith Prince found themselves very impressed at times, although apparently the nasal voice for some characters annoyed quite a few people. Nonetheless, the audience in general were satisfied with the concert, if not necessarily ecstatic about it, with more comments about the quality of the orchestra than the two stars, to be heard in the foyer after.