Tuesday, 4 August 2015

CD Review: The Three Little Pigs

“The world is perfect, perfect, perfect for a pig!”

Listening to their newly released cast recording of Goldilocks And The Three Bears, I was reminded that I have had Stiles and Drewe’s The Three Little Pigs on my ‘to listen to’ pile for ages now and with a theatrical production about to start at the Palace Theatre, what better time than now to finally get round to it. 

A response to a commission from Singapore Repertory Theatre’s Little Company, The Three Little Pigs is the first in Stiles & Drewe’s fairytale-based Trilogy of Trios – the bears are the second instalment and next year should see The Three Billy Goats Gruff receive the same family-friendly treatment.

But though these are family shows by their nature – coming in at just under an hour – they are no less sophisticated pieces of musical theatre, indeed the simplicity with which this composing duo work is so effective that it ought to be taught far and wide as Musical Theatre 101. Distilling their customary melodic brightness into a pocket-sized soundtrack, with key tunes reprised making it easy to hum them later on, and putting their own spin on the story that adds a contemporary appeal whilst remaining recognisable from any cherished bedtime storybook. It’ll doubtless look good on the stage but it is also a great listen in its own right. 

Alison Jiear’s expansive vocal warmth makes her a great Mother, exasperated and loving in the same breath as her little piglets leave the house looking like a pig sty and being played by the redoubtable Clive Rowe with his silkily smooth voice, this Big Bad Wolf can’t help but be “A Bit Misunderstood”.

And the 3 little pigs themselves, tastily originally named Cha, Siu and Bao and now renamed Bar, Bee and Q, are sweetly played by Gareth Gates, Lewis Barnshaw and an excellent Amy Lennox, making the album a resounding success and dare I say it, an ideal purchase after seeing the show at the Palace in August.

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