Lili La Scala: Songs to Make You Smile

I love Lili. I also love obscure vintage songs. Combine the two and, as you can imagine, I’ll be very happy indeed. Think Ivor Novello, George Thornby and Cole Porter, a lost Gracie Fields and a strange song called ‘The Biggest Aspidistra in the World’. The rule is, I’m told, she has to find original sheet music for the songs before she’s allowed to sing them. Looking over the shoulder of the pianist, I see that for some of the songs they really do play from vintage scores.Lili’s a great performer, striking in black with smouldering red lipstick and hair. Whenever she sings, the audience listens, laughs and falls in love with her a little more. Hers aren’t jazz interpretations, but modern cabaret performances inspired by period recordings - a lovely memory of the era but also a living tradition. She’s got a 30’s-style radio mike and everything, not to mention heels even higher than her voice.I would have liked to see more of the charming banter Lili inserts between songs. A mix of prepared stories and improvised interactions with audience and accompanist, these non-singey bits are excellent but too thinly spread to hold Lili’s act together as they should.

Reviews by James T. Harding

Pleasance Courtyard

Creatives

★★
Bedlam Theatre

The Duck Pond

★★★★★

The Blurb

Lili wants to make you smile, and so she brings you some of her favourite vintage songs. **** (BroadwayBaby.com), ‘Pure Joy’ **** (Advertiser, Adelaide).