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Musicals & Opera

(I-M) 2 out of 19 Next

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Page number refers to the Fringe programme

Judy and me (page 121)

Drams full glassfull glass
Company Comme Si
Music of Judy Garland
Musicians Isabelle Georges (Judy); Frederik Steenbrink (singer/narrator)
Date 22 August 2005
Venue Sweet Ego. (Venue No 204)
Address 14 Picardy Place
Reviewer Vivien Devlin

Isabelle Georges

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.

With Isabelle/Judy dressed (bizarrely) in striped dungarees covered in a black winter coat, we learn about the tough early years, the dieting, pep pills and auditions, resulting in stardom in The Wizard of Oz. But, again bizarrely, this major film and her role in it is barely mentioned or dramatised, just when I was expecting a song.

Judy & Vincente Minelli

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.

More narration, facts and figures about Judy's life would be welcome to enrich the dramatic scenes and complement the music.

Isabelle does not try to mimic Garland although there are moments such as The Man who Got Away when the strong, deep voice comes over which is delivered beautifully and with tear jerking poignancy.

Isabelle Georges as Judy

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.

Judy and Me
is certainly a fine personal tribute by these two talented young singers, performed with insight and passion. With more work on the script and narration, it could be a very fine show.

© Vivien Devlin, 22 August 2005. Published on EdinburghGuide.com. See also www.judyandme.net

Runs to 29 August at 6pm every day.


Manifest Destiny. (Page 122).

Drams None required.
Venue Assembly At St George's West.(Venue 157).
AddressSt George West, Shandwick Place.
ReviewerAlex Eades.

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


(I-M) 2 out of 19 Next
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