“But still you steal each breath I'm breathing”
For a musical theatre star known for her big voice, there’s something gorgeous about listening to how beautiful Louise Dearman’s first album is in all its unashamed subtlety. From its opening Leslie Bricusse double-header – Goodbye Mr Chips’s ‘You And I’ and Jekyll and Hyde’s ‘Someone Like You’ (with Frank WIldhorn) – to restrained takes on classics like Les Misérables’ On My Own and Chicago’s ‘Funny Honey’, you can’t help but be taken by the beauty of her tone in all its colour and softness.
The stripped-back piano-based aesthetic is thus ideally suited here, paring back Lloyd Webber’s innate grandiosity to find real heart in ‘Whistle Down The Wind’, connecting perfectly with all the raw emotion of Ragtime’s ‘Your Daddy’s Son’, gently swinging through Show Boat’s ‘Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man Of Mine’. Jimmy Jewell’s work on the keys is superlative, ensuring there’s always musical interest in the arrangements whilst never forgetting the key role of accompanying Dearman.
The only issue that some might have with You and I is that there isn’t too much variety in terms of the music – City of Angels’ ‘You Can Always Count on Me’ is a rare foray out balladry - but for someone whose idea of musical theatre heaven is piano-based, you aren’t getting any complaints here! And I love discovering new songs and shows through albums like these – here it is an utterly gorgeous ‘I'll Forget You’ from Wildhorn and Nan Knighton’s The Scarlet Pimpernel which was brand new to me and a song I now never want to forget. An excellent album.