What's it all About? Bacharach Reimagined, Chocolate Factory

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pljms
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What's it all About? Bacharach Reimagined, Chocolate Factory

Post by pljms »

On one of the hottest afternoons of this highly erratic summer of ours, I found myself in a mercifully air-conditioned Chocolate Factory to witness a matinee performance of the show devised and musically arranged by Kyle Riabco, What’s it all about? Bacharach Reimagined. Because I left the theatre 90 minutes later having been moved by several of the performances and also having had my opinion of a few of the songs actually enhanced, then I have to classify this show as a success, albeit a qualified one. Some or all of thirty Bacharach hits plus three non-hits were sung and played enthusiastically and with great flair by a cast of seven very young and highly talented performers. As for the long list of songs performed or at least dipped into, it would be easier and quicker to name the hits overlooked for the show, namely The Story of my Life. Tower of Strength, Wives and Lovers, Twenty-Four Hours from Tulsa, Only Love can break a Heart, Please Stay and Promises, Promises. When I say ‘dipped into’, in some cases (Any Day Now, One Less Bell to Answer Arthur’s Theme) only one line of the song is heard and in other cases incomplete songs merge fairly seamlessly into other songs with a similar message (Reach Out for Me/That’s what Friends are For and The Windows of the World/What the World Needs Now). Giving an old and familiar song a radically different musical setting can often work making it sound as fresh as new, like the reggae arrangement of I’ll Never Fall in Love Again’, but in other instances it was less successful, like what can only be described as Heavy Metal versions of Message to Michael and Do You Know the Way to San Jose. However, if it was Kyle Riabco’s intention to show how indestructible these songs are, regardless of how crudely they’re played and the high decibel level, it worked! Hearing a different interpretation of (There’s) Always Something there to Remind Me other than the hit recordings I’ve known for most of my life but probably haven’t listened to properly for years was to marvel once again at the nigh-on perfect marriage of words and music and the extraordinary emotional depth of the song. Talking of emotional depth, Kyle Riabco was very astute in his choice of songs that were to be stripped bare, just voice and guitar or piano, and Don’t Make Me Over (a remarkable performance by Anastacia McCleskey), Anyone Who Had a Heart, A House is Not a Home and Alfie were for me and I suspect most of the audience the highlights of the show. In fact, I doubt if there were many dry eyes in the house at the end of Kyle Riabco’s very touching performances of A House is Not a Home and Alfie and I remember thinking at the time that if there are two more profound songs written in the last hundred years I’ve yet to hear them. It was a nice touch on leaving the theatre to be greeted by all seven members of the cast standing outside the main exit, each of them playing a ukulele and singing Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head, yes, on one of the hottest afternoons of the summer.
Last edited by pljms on Tue Aug 25, 2015 10:25 am, edited 2 times in total.
Paul

Martin Johnson
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Re: What's it all About? Bacharach Reimagined, Chocolate Fac

Post by Martin Johnson »

I'm finally going to see the show on Thursday evening and after reading your review it can't come soon enough!

pljms
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Re: What's it all About? Bacharach Reimagined, Chocolate Fac

Post by pljms »

I think that overall you'll enjoy the show, Martin. I plan to go again during the show's last week in September.

The three numbers included in the show I described as 'non-hits' were I Come to You, Mexican Divorce and The Sundance Kid, the latter two featuring all but briefly. However, I Come to You was performed in its entirety and sounded good, more than holding its own among all the classic hit songs that surrounded it.
Paul

Martin Johnson
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Re: What's it all About? Bacharach Reimagined, Chocolate Fac

Post by Martin Johnson »

Early niggles re one or two straight major chords replacing major 7ths were soon forgotten about once I got caught up in the sheer joy and emotion of the thing. It's a shame the show comes to the end of its run next Saturday.

pljms
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Re: What's it all About? Bacharach Reimagined, Chocolate Fac

Post by pljms »

Taken from the internet:

Following its hit Menier Chocolate Factory run, Kyle Riabko’s critically acclaimed musical concert that takes audiences through Burt Bacharach’s legendary songbook will transfer to the West End next month under the new title Close To You.

Riabko’s exhilarating 90-minute theatrical concert, which had previously been titled What’s It All About? Bacharach Reimagined, will play at the Criterion Theatre from 3 October (press night 15 October).

The Broadway star, who conceived the show alongside David Lane Seltzer, will once again lead a talented company of musicians and singers in performing the legendary singer/songwriter’s most loved songs, all reimagined for the stage in new and innovative ways.

Directed by Olivier Award winner Steven Hoggett (The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time, Once), Close To You features everything from Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head and I Say A Little Prayer to Walk On By, What’s New Pussycat? and I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself.

While audiences may have responded positively to Riabko’s radical versions of the well-known songs, there is obviously only one man’s opinion that really matters, Bacharach himself who gave the show his seal of approval, proclaiming it “brilliant” and saying: “Kyle has done something truly unique with my music. I loved it!”

Official London Theatre’s Matthew Amer was similarly won over when it made its UK premiere at the Menier, concluding: “It’s a gig like none you’ve ever seen before. It’s mystifying and enchanting, charming and wistful, nostalgic and progressive... Hoggett’s movement direction – more Once than The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time – is joyful and fun-filled, never overpowering, while Riabko’s arrangements genuinely bring new life to Bacharach and lyricist Hal David’s timeless classics.”

Close To You will become the first new production to play at the Criterion Theatre in several years following the closure of the venue’s long-running comedy caper The 39 Steps.
Paul

Martin Johnson
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Re: What's it all About? Bacharach Reimagined, Chocolate Fac

Post by Martin Johnson »

A surprising development. Although I enjoyed the show it occurred to me that it was very a fringe theatre production and I couldn't see it transferring to London's West End. Perhaps changing the name of the show is an indication of more changes to come, like increasing the length as 90 minutes is really very short for a West End show.

Sara D
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Re: What's it all About? Bacharach Reimagined, Chocolate Fac

Post by Sara D »

I finally saw the show at its final night at the Chocolate Factory on Saturday. Why this production has succeeded where other Bacharach tribute shows have failed is probably down to the very different way these classic songs are presented and the fact that they haven't tagged on some ridiculous story-line. I hope they don't tamper with it too much for the West End transfer, although a few extra songs wouldn't go amiss

pljms
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Re: What's it all About? Bacharach Reimagined, Chocolate Fac

Post by pljms »

See the link below to the newly titled show at the Criterion Theatre:

http://closetoyoulondon.com/?gclid=CJfI ... GwodWFwBYg
Paul

Martin Johnson
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Re: What's it all About? Bacharach Reimagined, Chocolate Fac

Post by Martin Johnson »

Here's a new trailer for the show before its re-opening in a few weeks time. I wonder if BB will make an appearance on what after all is a West End Premiere, the first for any show based on his music since Promises, Promises, which opened in September 1969:

http://britishtheatre.com/close-to-you- ... -released/

pljms
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Re: What's it all About? Bacharach Reimagined, Chocolate Fac

Post by pljms »

It seems BB will be at the official opening of the West End transfer of the show, now titled 'Close to You - Bacharach Reimagined' as he's scheduled to appear this week on 'Later with Jools Holland' on BBC television. Incidentally, Jools Holland was once the keyboard player in the New Wave band Squeeze who's lead singer and composer Glenn Tilbrook Holland recently compared to Bacharach. Of course the comparison was absurd but I still think their latest album 'Cradle to the Grave' is the best collection of new songs I've heard by anyone since PFM. Here they are performing the title-track on Jools Holland's show a month ago:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=l-8MAziR1s0
Last edited by pljms on Sun Oct 11, 2015 6:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
Paul

blueonblue
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Re: What's it all About? Bacharach Reimagined, Chocolate Fac

Post by blueonblue »

Great track !
And the TV series it was written for is absolutely hilarious !

Looking forward to Burt's appearance on Jools Holland's show, I wonder if Kyle Riabko and his band will be appearing ?

Thanks for posting.

"blue"

pljms
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Re: What's it all About? Bacharach Reimagined, Chocolate Fac

Post by pljms »

According to the Radio Times, Blue, BB's only scheduled to appear on Friday's edition of Later, the extended version.

The one person who links Squeeze with Bacharach is of course Elvis Costello, who produced the band's excellent 'East Side Story' album way back in 1981.
Paul

blueonblue
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Re: What's it all About? Bacharach Reimagined, Chocolate Fac

Post by blueonblue »

"East Side Story" is considered by many to be their "Masterpiece" a superb album.
pljms, thanks also for the Burt info, I'll try and catch the show on Friday.

"blue"

Barry in the UK
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Re: What's it all About? Bacharach Reimagined, Chocolate Fac

Post by Barry in the UK »

Just noticed that here in the UK Burt is also scheduled on TV to appear on BBC1s One Show at 7pm TONIGHT.
Quote
......they are joined by legendary composer Burt Bacharach who talks about his life and career, and performs Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head.
Unquote

Barry

blueonblue
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Re: What's it all About? Bacharach Reimagined, Chocolate Fac

Post by blueonblue »

Thanks Barry !

"blue"

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