“What man could ask for more”
To Do. To Be. – The Music of Tim Prottey-Jones is Prottey-Jones’ third CD, an album collecting together music from a range of sources for which he has written – stage musicals After the Turn, Equally and The First Last Kiss, musical films Down Flew the Doves and Standing on the Edge and lastly one play with music Exes. And though he is a performer himself (currently to be found in Kinky Boots), he’s gone down the tried and tested route of going through his address book to get an impressive roster of talent to perform his songs.
So the album opens with Kinky co-star Amy Lennox’s sweet but determined ‘Have you ever?’, former Once colleagues Declan Bennett and Arthur Darvill rock out gently on ‘Kiss till you can’t kiss anymore’ and ‘Leaving for you’ respectively and from the same show, Zrinka Cvitešić gives a gorgeously tender vocal performance in ‘I for one’. That Prottey-Jones can write a decent song is in no doubt and in the case of Laura Pitt-Pulford’s ‘Nothing’ and Jacqueline Hughes’ ‘I’ll Be With You Always’, exciting musical theatre leaps from the speakers, the potential here is considerable.
With such a diverse team of writers on collaborative duties and a wide range of projects on display, there’s also an unevenness to the collection that holds me back from loving it entirely. I’m a piano and strings kinda guy so liking anything with guitars is new to me 😉 and there’s quite a lot of indie-pop-leaning tracks here that haven’t quite caught my attention even after a few listens, not everyone stretches their MT muscle and the difference across the whole disc is palpable.
That said, it’s an interesting pointer to a more modern style of musical theatre which some of the more adventurous fringe theatres in London would do well to take note of, if they’re looking for an interesting musical to put on. Truth be told, I wasn’t hugely enamoured of Prottey-Jones’ first album More With Every Line and so gave his second Surrounded By The Sounds a miss but on this evidence, I might well go back and give it a try – anyone want to lend me their copy…