Liza Pulman’s show is as much a musical education as it is an entertaining and gentle evening of entertainment.
Filled with warmth and passion, it is always a treat to listen to Liza Pulman performing. Her precision and deep understanding of the songs that she is performing, combined with the way in which she naturally engages with the audience, ensues a relaxing and enjoyable evening.
What also should be noted is the her song selecting ability to highlight songs and composers whose work is lesser known but absolutely deserves to. While contemporary song writers such as Neil Diamond and Billy Joel feature, she also delves further back with songs by Fats Waller and Harold Arlen also included – ensuring a rich and musically diverse evening.
Throughout the evening, Pulman delivers elegant and classy performances – with just a touch of nostalgia as heard through her renditions of songs such as ‘When Somebody Loved Me’ (from Toy Story 2) and ‘You Don’t Bring Me Flowers’ . Through each song, she makes it extremely clear that she has a deep connection with each song – which acted as a strong reminder of the power of music and the feelings it can evoke. Through each performance, you can see how she completely loses herself in the music.
But this is a performance that is more than just about Liza Pulman, her fantastic band rise to the occasion perfectly – each song offers each of them the opportunity to shine as well. In particular, I loved the arrangement of ‘If I Only Had a Brain’ from The Wizard of Oz and ‘Ragtime Randy’ – both of which are delightfully cheeky and playful. Together, you get a real sense of the strength of the bond between the singer and the band.
Any one of the songwriters featured in this show deserve a little more attention and I did feel ashamed of not recognising more of them. But this is a show that leaves you wanting to discover more which is something that all involved with putting The Heart of It together as a live performance should be massively proud of. Yes on occasion the sound could have been balanced out a little bit more in places as some of the lyrics get a little bit lost – but this is a minor complaint that is easily fixed.
There is a great display of different texture and tone as to the way in which the show progresses: from a gorgeous rendition of ‘Nobody Does it Better’ to the way in which Pulman interacts with the audience with great ease and style. There is a lovely balance between music and conversation – that never ever feels self-indulgent.
Overall, this was an evening to sit back and simply enjoy. A real musical education that certainly left you wanting more.
By Emma Clarendon
Liza Pulman – The Heart of it will be performed again at The Other Palace on the 30th January.