Pam Lawson’s tribute to Doris Day takes the audiences on a chronological journey through Doris Day’s movies. It is an affectionate and educational affair, but lacks any flair which seems at odds with the incredible exuberance of Doris Day herself.
The band are very skilled, with Tom Finlay providing some excellent accompaniment on piano, and Ed Kelly playing some particularly memorable solos in ‘Love Me Or Leave Me’ and ‘This Can’t Be Love’. However, they never have any kind of interaction with the audience, not even so much as a glance upwards. That is all left to Lawson herself, who is always smiling and engaging, but does not have the voice to pull off some of these iconic songs.
Lawson’s voice is very delicate and pretty. However, as the front woman for an entire show where she has the audience’s full attention, it lacks power and grit. Furthermore, she occasionally struggled with tuning, particularly on big leaps downwards. In ‘Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps', the soft and mysterious minor key sections suited her voice perfectly. However, as soon as the chorus kicked in, Lawson’s voice was not up to the task, wobbling on the notes and sounding too weak and strung out. As a performer, she was enjoyable to watch, with an expressive face for emotional songs such as ‘Love Me Or Leave Me’, and dancing around stage for songs like ‘Shaking The Blues Away’. Her playful addition of a Calamity Jane hat for the three Calamity songs was fun, coupled with the slapping of her thigh for the whip-crack-a-way in the ‘Deadwood Stage’, and she seemed to really enjoy herself singing the cheeky ‘Makin’ Whoopee’. Yet, despite the fun she was evidently having, these songs were all originally sung with much more energy, both in movement and in vocals, and so they seemed like pale ghosts in comparison.
Although Lawson was very personable and informative and succeeded in getting exciting the audience into singing on multiple occasions, this show acts as a lazy afternoon activity rather than a rousing tribute to Doris Day.