"He brought me ice-cream"
It’s a little unfortunate for this 1994 London Cast Recording of She Loves Me, that I came to it after having fallen hard for the charms of the Broadway production that was livestreamed and whose cast recording I’ve already had the pleasure of reviewing. For it can’t help but be overshadowed by it, not just in terms of whether its ‘better’ or not but also in the more ephemeral sense that that was version that changed my mind about the show after a lacklustre fringe production had turned me off.
The main joy here comes from a stellar performance from Ruthie Henshall as the headstrong but heartsore Amalia Balash, a role for which she won the Best Actress in a Musical Olivier Award, the kind of old-school soprano role that is all-too-sadly rarely found these days. The sweet emotion of ‘Vanilla Ice Cream’, the tender heart of ‘Dear Friend’, but particularly the comedy and vocal acrobatics of ‘Where’s My Shoe?’, you can see how there’s a powerful match between singer and role.
Tracie Bennett, also an Olivier Award winner for this show, is a good fit for Ilona, Amalia’s somewhat dippy colleague from the shop in which they work, as she works the comic angle for tracks like ‘I Resolve’ and ‘A Trip To The Library’ but John Gordon Sinclair, the third acting award winner from a very successful night for the show doesn’t really embody all the charm of the confident, what ought to be a soaring moment in the title song just putters along. Worth a listen for Henshall’s contributions but I’d stick with the new Broadway cast recording if you’re looking to buy.