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Musicals & Opera
Judy and me (page 121)
This rather engaging, bittersweet musical tribute to Judy Garland begins with
the announcement of her tragically early death in 1969. This is swiftly followed
by news of the birth a few years later of a French girl Isabelle Georges who
grew up to adore Judy, having seen A Star is Born aged 8, which inspired
her to become a singer. With Georges (as Judy) accompanied by singer/narrator
Frederik Steenbrink on piano, the show is a series of sketches through the biographical
journey of Judy's life from the young child prodigy, Francis Gumm, pushed by
her stage mother towards Hollywood and her years of fame as singer, film actress
and TV entertainer.
The years fly by and now dressed in a blue frock, we are treated to a sequence
of well known songs and a few dance numbers. Judy is soon pregnant and her daughter
Lisa is born. This is followed by the narrator giving details of Judy meeting
the film director Vincente Minnelli and their subsequent marriage - somehow
the script is rather out of kilter here.
And the finale is terrific. Dressed in a glamorous red sequined dress for a
true showstopper, Over the Rainbow. Judy Garland performed a show in
Edinburgh in 1952 at the Empire Theatre (now the Edinburgh Festival Theatre).
She asked the audience for an encore and she ended the show with this song.
Manifest Destiny. (Page 122).
Drams None required.
Venue Assembly At St George's West.(Venue 157).
AddressSt George West, Shandwick Place.
I’ve always tried to avoid reviewing musicals because, well, to be perfectly honest I pretty much detest them. So, the musical section of the Fringe magazine was not really something I paid much attention to on the run up to the festival. As you all well know, we all have to do things we’d rather not sometimes and I found myself going to see an opera called Manifest Destiny, recommended to me for its look at the war on terrorism and American global power. I decided to go. I got my ticket, took a deep breath and took the plunge. I have to say, seeing Manifest Destiny was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
The story is simple, but effective. We follow Leila, who sets to take revenge for her Palestinian fathers’ death by becoming a suicide bomber. However, things change as it comes to surface that her power of creativity is greater than that to cause death. Confused, she isolates herself eventually being caught by the Americans with tragic circumstances.
This has excellent performances with truly amazing music. Manifest Destiny will haunt your soul for many a day. Of all of the performances based around terrorism this year, this is the one to see. A miracle of a show that is sometimes beautiful and sometimes horrible. It is, however, always unforgettable.
©Alex Eades 18 August 2005 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs until 29 August.
Company - Daniel X Opera.
Company Website - www.keithburstein.co.uk