Sequels seldom live up to the success of the originals they’re attempting to emulate, but in the case of Robert Gould’s upcoming concert, I suspect it will be one of those rare exceptions to the rule. More Words Shared With Friends is the sequel to this year’s earlier concert, Words Shared With Friends, which took place at the Leicester Square Theatre in April to launch the librettist/lyricist’s début album of the same name.
The album featured a collection of original songs for which Gould has either written or co-written lyrics for, in collaboration with an assortment of international composers from the UK, Sweden, the Netherlands, Israel and the USA. A line-up of top West End talent recorded the vocals for the album’s sixteen tracks, with such names as Kieran Brown, Shawn McCourt, Will Barratt, Ceili O’Connor, Laura Pitt-Pulford, Ben Stott and Benjamin Vivian-Jones lending their voices to the songs. It was an album which any musical theatre would love, and in this website’s review of it, Words Shared With Friends was described as a ‘proverbial treasure chest of musical delights.’
The accompanying concert event was held the day prior to the album’s release, offering its audience the opportunity to preview some of the songs which featured on the album, as well as some additional bonus material. Performances on the night came from the likes of Kieran Brown, Jordan Lee Davies, Carolyn Maitland, Shaun McCourt and Rebecca Trehearn.
Now, on Sunday 10th August, Gould is returning to the Leicester Square Theatre for his follow-up concert, More Words Shared With Friends. He’ll be showcasing songs which have been written with eight of his composer friends and has once again invited some exciting guest vocalists from the West End and London theatre scene to perform them. Already announced in the night’s line-up are returning talents Carolyn Maitland (Miss Saigon, From Here to Eternity, Kiss Me Kate, Legally Blonde) and Lauren Ingram (Miss Saigon, Joseph), and joining them are Charlotte Bradford (Shot At Dawn, The Secret Garden), Jonathan Dudley (Zanna Don’t, Joseph, Scrooge), Rob Houchen (Les Miserables, Godspell), Nadim Naaman (Titanic, Chess, Margueritte, The Phantom of the Opera), Michael Riseley (Les Miserables) and David Ribi (I Love You You’re Perfect Now Change, Zanna Don’t, Dreamboats and Petticoats).
Some of the songs will be taken from the album, whilst he also dips into his songbook repertoire to display other material, including some world premières. My Land’s Shore and Elephant Juice, both written in collaboration with Christopher J. Orton, will be two of the musicals contributing songs for the night, as too will Vocalize! and Roundabout. There’ll also be some stand-alone pop songs.
Vocalize! was written in partnership with composer Ty Kroll, while Roundabout is the creation of Gould and Joe Sterling, a singer/songwriter/actor who released his own album of original songs, Somewhere In My Mind, in 2012. The song ‘Reasons’ was written by the two of them and Sterling recorded it for Gould’s album. Sterling will also be performing in More Words Shared With Friends, as will another singer/songwriter/actor who has worked with Gould, Jonathan Eio. ‘The Blanket Of My Love’ which featured music by Eio and lyrics by Gould, was one of the sixteen tracks which featured on the album.
Robert Gould is a Welsh playwright, lyricist, musical theatre librettist and pop songwriter who is an up-and-coming force in the world of musical theatre. He is probably best known for his partnership with Christopher J. Orton, most particular with the developmental musical My Land’s Shore which has gathered quite a fan following thanks to a concert performance, the 2012 studio cast recording and a workshop production last year. Three songs from the musical are due to be performed at the concert, with two live performances of songs from the show’s latest rewrite.
The musicals he has collaborated on include The Dying Game, Grace Notes, Lovers, Flop! The World’s Worst Musical, Alone, and Based On a True Story, which staged a workshop production at the Jermyn Street Theatre in 2010.For any musical theatre fans searching for a way to fill a summery Sunday evening this August, More Words Shared With Friends is the perfect form of entertainment. It really doesn’t matter if you’re familiar with Gould or not; the fantastic songs and the stellar cast of singers performing then are sure to satisfy those who enjoy new, original work. The album launch concert was a huge success and the sequel could well achieve the nigh-impossible feat of not only matching, but surpassing the original.
More Words Shared With Friends takes place at the Leicester Square Theatre on Sunday 10th August 2014.
By Julie Robinson: @missjulie25
Thursday 24th July 2014