War Notes

Lili la Scala leads us through an hour of song from the world wars. Interspersed with real-life letters from soldiers involved in the Middle East conflict, the show brings the spirit of the songs to life in a modern context as well as in the musical prowess of Lili’s accomplished interpretations. The classic war songs are executed beautifully, but Lili’s connoisseurship extends to more obscure numbers like the “affectionately racist” Mr Woo’s an Air-Raid Warden and a German-language version of Lili Marlene.Proceeds from Lili’s CD go to the Help for Heroes fund, but Lili’s warmth manifests in her performance as well as offstage, bringing an authentic and varied pathos to the singing which has the audience completely enthralled. She rightfully shies away from copying the classic recordings, but captures the period’s styles and aesthetics perfectly within a modern classical technique. Her anecdotes about the songs and how she came to discover them are charming, if erratic, and the balance between singing and story is well thought out to create a very satisfying programme.The show is clearly a labour of love for Lili, who welcomes each audience member personally and whose attention to detail extends as far as period microphone technique and the use of a vintage piano. Very few manage not to cry at some point during the show, and the obvious engagement of some of the older audience members is for me as much a part of the show as what goes on onstage. On the afternoon I attended, Lili noticed one woman in particular was very moved during We’ll Meet Again and found her at the end of the show to ask for her story. This show is both a wonderful introduction and a moving tribute to some of the most powerful music around.

Reviews by James T. Harding

Pleasance Courtyard

Creatives

★★
Bedlam Theatre

The Duck Pond

★★★★★

The Blurb

Are the roses blooming in Picardy? Will we gather lilacs? Did that nightingale sing in Berkeley Square? You'll know because you were there. 'Pure Joy' ****1/2' (Advertiser, Australia).