Celebrating a selection of music written by three generations of the Sherman family, A Spoonful of Sherman has plenty to make you smile about.
You hear the name Sherman and a number of songs come flooding into your mind at once whether it is ‘A Spoonful of Sugar’ , ‘It’s A Small World (After All)’ or ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’. This charming cabaret is a celebration of the Sherman family’s success in songwriting, proving that music wasn’t just in their blood – but actually goes a lot deeper than that.
With the help of Helena Blackman, Daniel Boys and Christopher Hamilton, Robert J. Sherman takes the audiences through his family history of songwriting, interspersed with facts and stories of how songwriting became a natural part of their lives.
From ‘Save Your Sorrow (For Tomorrow)’ all the way through to ‘It’s A Small World (After All)’, the selection of songs is nicely balanced between recognisable songs to those which give context to the way in which the Sherman brand of songwriting developed over the years.
But it is the wonderful performances from all the performers that also put a smile on the face of the audiences. Helena Blackman proves she could do wonderfully well in the role of Mary Poppins thanks to her suitably proper performance of ‘A Spoonful of Sugar’ and wonderfully emotive rendition of ‘Feed the Birds’. In turn, Daniel Boys delivers great warmth throughout his performances, but particularly during ‘Music of the Spheres’ and ‘Hushabye Mountain’ he is truly charismatic. Together, perhaps both Blackman and Boys characterisations can seem slightly over the top and a tad too expressive in places that can make the performance lose some of its focus – but this is just a minor flaw in the strong performances.
Meanwhile, Christopher Hamilton as well as offering lovely accompaniment on piano is a force to be reckoned with in terms of personality and energy – as heard when he sings ‘The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers’ and ‘Crunchy Crackers’. His level of enthusiasm gives a new lease of energy to the show, which can seem slightly lacking in the quieter moments of the performance.
Overall, A Spoonful of Sherman flows from one song to the next with ease and style, helped along with the deeply personal elements of the Sherman story as told by Robert J.Sherman. Wonderfully intimate and entertaining show.