Westmorland Gazette review – 7 October 2019
By Rachel Garnett
KATIE Birtill’s performance on Saturday night as “The Girl” looking for love in New York was nothing short of dazzling.
Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black’s one-woman show made a household name of Marti Webb in the early 1980s, thanks to hit songs like Take That Look Off Your Face and Tell Me on a Sunday.
Now, almost 40 years on, director David Gilmore has revived the musical with another singer whose star quality fills the stage.
Katie’s gorgeous voice, her warmth, sweetness and beauty held the audience spellbound for an hour as we followed the ups and downs of the English girl’s love life, from the Big Apple to Los Angeles and back again.
In the intimate setting of the Old Laundry Theatre, we could see every nuance of Katie’s facial expressions and body language as she conveyed giddy optimism at each new romantic encounter, “speaking” to us as friends through the conversational lyrics.
From her first New York love – the man in corduroy driving a car with stickers on – to Hollywood’s Sheldon Bloom, the married man and the younger man, our girl’s dreams were dashed at every turn.
But she never lost hope or stayed angry or forlorn for long, singing the bittersweet It’s Not the End of the World (If I Lose Him).
Simple, effective costume changes evoked the differing moods and locations: a Burberry-style trench coat and sunglasses for jetting off to LA, a college varsity jacket in New York, and a kimono and a silk night robe in her apartment.
As reminders of the show’s 1980s debut, nostalgic props included a chunky cordless phone, a flute of champagne and some good old-fashioned writing paper for those letters home to Mum in Muswell Hill: “You’ll really like him.”
Every song, from the opening title theme to the achingly beautiful final number, Unexpected Song, was greeted by rapturous clapping and cheers from the audience, and Katie Birtill looked genuinely surprised and humbled to be so applauded.
Until October 26, 2019.