“Theyre bouncy, trouncy, flouncy, pouncy
Fun, fun, fun, fun, fun”
A Spoonful of Sherman was previously seen at the St James Theatre (as was) in April 2014 but such is the warmly nostalgic hold of the Sherman Brothers’ songwriting, it is little surprise to see it re-emerge – this time in the plush surroundings of Brasserie Zédel’s cabaret space. The show has slimmed down its personnel from 4 to 2, Helena Blackman and Daniel Boys taking up the singing duties, with third generation songwriter Robert J. Sherman stepping in once again as narrator.
And I have to say I felt largely the same about A Spoonful of Sherman – it is a stronger show when Sherman Jnr is on the sidelines. One can understand the justifiably enormous pride he has in his family’s heritage, and in bringing this show to life, but the frequent interjections to sketch biographical insight don’t quite work in this format – its the stuff of programme essays to be honest and you can’t help wonder if his role might be more usefully reduced to a choice few bon mots.
For the unalloyed joy comes in the music, led superbly by Christopher Hamilton from the piano, taking in any number of hits from one of the most celebrated songwriting partnerships ever. From Mary Poppins to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Jungle Book to Winnie the Pooh, this is the sound of so many childhoods from so many generations brought once again to blissful musical life in the captivating vocal blend of Blackman and Boys, whose musical chemistry radiates from the stage.
There’s variety too in the programme selection, dipping into some of the not-quite-as-famous songs from those soundtracks, which adds interest and also switches up the mood from being too saccharine sweet – it’s only one spoonful we need after all and at 85 minutes, you can forgive most of the indulgences here.