BWW Review: Sharron Matthews Was ON THE LOOSE at the Stratford Summer Music Festival. And We Loved it.
On Friday evening, as part of the Stratford Summer Music Festival's cabaret series at Revival House, the incomparable SharRon Matthews hit the stage for delightful and moving show that had the audience captivated from start to finish.
Matthews-who has been touring her show, GIRL CRUSH throughout the summer, and will continue to do so in the fall, appeared more than happy to stop by a hometown venue to offer a unique 'one time only' cabaret performance entitled SHARRON ON THE LOOSE. This show offered musical selections ranging from Lady Gaga to The Beatles to Annie Lennox to U2. She also included songs from popular musicals SHOW BOAT and recent Tony winner DEAR EVAN HANSEN. Accompaniment was provided by Steve Thomas, who was also responsible for some of the unique orchestrations of well-known songs.
The marriage of Matthews' powerful singing voice and the unique space (Revival House is a renovated church that is now a restaurant/event venue) allowed for a truly magical evening. The fine acoustics of the space were particularly noticeable when Matthews led the audience in a sing-along of "Can't Help Lovin' That Man" from SHOW BOAT. At the start of the show, she promised the audience that they would leave that evening, feeling like she and they were in a relationship. I'd say she delivered.
This show was framed with the theme of "love". Matthews used song choices and personal stories to describe different kinds of love-from a young crush, to love of fame or money, to a parent's love of a child, to a 'crazy' obsessive love, and finally, to a healthy dose of self-love. Although the song choices were incredibly diverse, one thing that each song had in common was interesting lyrics. Matthews has a way of singing a song that makes the audience feel as if they are hearing the lyrics for the first time. This rang particularly true for numbers like "Brandy" (Elliott Lurie), "Stop! In The Name of Love" (Holland-Dozier-Holland) and "Every Breath You Take" (The Police).
Matthews' ability to be playfully teasing an audience member one minute, and then be belting a moving musical number through tears the next, is further evidence of her pure, unadulterated talent. She commands a room and bares her soul, all while keeping you laughing. We're not worthy!
This fabulous cabaret is just another example of all the right notes that the Stratford Summer Music Festival is hitting this season. Founder, and Artistic Director, John Miller deserves a round of applause.
For more information about Sharron Matthews and to find out when she performs next, check out her website: www.sharronmatthews.com
For a list of upcoming events and performances for the Stratford Summer Music Festival, be sure to check this site: www.stratfordsummermusic.ca
For more information on Revival House: http://revival.house/