CD Review: RE:ARRANGEMENT by Nick Barstow
Last week saw the release of new album RE:ARRANGEMENT, on which well-known musical theatre songs have been reinvented to give them a new identity. The eight-track CD features some incredible voices, including Noel Sullivan, Faye Tozer and Matt Terry.
The project began as a cabaret, conceived by director Kirk Jameson and musical arranger Nick Barstow, who also sings on the album. Several of the cast have recently returned from Royal Caribbean's Stages: Floating Festival, where they performed some of the material for avid musical theatre fans.
As a starting point, there is a great variety of songs on the album, but if anything, I wanted more! Eight numbers just wasn't enough for me. It is so refreshing though to hear popular musical theatre songs performed in a different way, as you can get so brainwashed by one particular version.
What each track on the album has in common is that the stripped-back versions put the lyrics in the spotlight, and I feel like I finally heard some of the songs properly. My highlight is "With One Look" performed by the sensational Alice Fearn, and it is probably the number that is furthest away from the Sunset Boulevard original. Some of the emotion has perhaps been lost, but the jazzy vibe is genius.
I was extremely impressed by the a cappella harmonies between Noel Sullivan, Andy Coxon and Nick Barstow in "Fixer Upper" from Disney's Frozen. Whilst this begins with a piano accompaniment, a large bulk is purely vocal, so bravo for this.
It is also lovely to hear a male vocal from Andy Coxon on "I Don't Know How To Love Him" from Jesus Christ Superstar, whilst Kelly Mathieson brings her Scottish banter to Oklahoma's "People Will Say We're In Love", with comedic incidental dialogue between the lyrics.
A great concept, well-executed. Bring on RE:ARRANGEMENT Volume 2!