Sometimes a title of a show can be so specific in its subject matter that it can pull the audience in and deliver exactly what they expect to see. In the case of Claire Benjamin’s show, the title and what the show delivers is almost defrauding the public. There is little to do with the von Trapp family singers in this show, with the exception of a brief opening sequence and a short snippet from film of The Sound of Music – the latter of which has little to do with the rest of the piece.
Benjamin has an amazing voice; it is a powerhouse of a voice. She knows how to use a microphone and, when singing, captivates the audience with her sultry, off the wall style. Her choices of songs are interesting and the varying styles and re-workings of famous songs are imaginative and amusing.
In short, Benjamin’s show is a character-comedy piece. Her characters are fun and amusing: in particular her heightened RP Celia Johnson type song styling diva. Each of her characters, although seemingly barmy, are carefully drawn and thought through. They are wonderfully costumed too.
The main disappointment of the show (apart from the deceptive title), are Benjamin’s multimedia presentations that occur during her costume changes. They are weakly shot and the sound is distorted and difficult to hear. They are too long and not particularly funny.
Benjamin is a talent. She deserves a better show. There are some excellent ideas, a highlight being the YMCA finale. I would love to see a performance that shows off her vocal abilities and character comedy to its fullest extent.