Firstly, this was not a tribute act or impersonator; there were no wigs or reenactments. Secondly, this was not a journey through the life of Barbara Streisand; although it was littered with historical facts. These points were clearly made by the singer at the opening of the show, which was helpful, as truthfully I wasn’t sure what to expect. She also made it very clear multiple times that her name is pronounced Liza, as in Liza Minnelli, not Lisa, as in Simpson, just to be clear. It was a show presented by a singer of pure class, known as one part of the group Fascinating Aida, singing the songs made famous by the legend Barbara Streisand and intertwined with anecdotes and comical musings that were appreciated by a very happy audience. Although some of the jokes and interaction fell flat through the show, the fact that the audience were on their feet at the end demonstrated their enjoyment of the piece nonetheless.
Personally, I felt the second half was stronger than the first, but overall I had a very enjoyable Monday evening and left the theatre very content. I enjoyed some of Streisand’s classic songs and was introduced to some I was not familiar with, I heard stories that I hadn’t heard before and enjoyed a very talented performer’s show. However, I wish she had embraced the “Streisand” that little bit more. Although she voiced the fact that she wasn’t trying to be her, Liza’s voice was so reminiscent of the singer, particularly in her lower register, and Streisand’s phrasing and nasal quality was obviously a direct influence, which is not something that would have come from Liza’s operatic education; I would have liked her to have gone with that a little more.
The band were obviously exceptionally talented, and Joseph Atkins’ arrangements were interesting and fresh with opportunities for members of the band to showcase some magical moments, although the “ad libs” and interactions felt very rehearsed and lacked excitement. The lighting was simple but effective and the sound was exceptionally balanced and operated.
This show has been touring for some time, felt established, and will be playing a few further Mondays at the Lyric Theatre, Liza making the comment it being the only place you can now hear Michael Jackson’s music. I would recommend going to see it but perhaps would suggest that the more intimate nature of a space such as the Crazy Coqs cabaret venue, where the show has previously visited, may add to the experience a touch more than the less personal expanse of the Lyric does.
Review by Daisy Smith
A must-see for music lovers and Streisand fans everywhere, Fascinating Aida’s Liza Pulman pays homage to one of the finest talents of a generation, squeezing history, warmth and humour into this critically lauded five-star triumph. Direct from a sell-out run at The Other Palace, Liza’s easy wit, flawless vocals & compelling storytelling will take your breath away, inspired by the offbeat and enchanting veracity of a musical legend. Give yourself a reason to smile this Spring.
18 March, 1 April, 8 April and 15 April 2019
Liza Pulman Sings Streisand
29 Shaftesbury Avenue, London W1D 7ES
7.30pm (running time 110 minutes including 20-minute interval)