‘Joie de vivre’ and ‘esprit de corps’ are the phrases that come to mind when watching ‘Broadway Enchanté’, an acclaimed Parisian set devoted to classic musicals from Isabelle Georges and her four-piece band. From the off, the sense of energy, collaboration and sheer joy in the performance and experience of showtunes is irresistible. Georges has a clear, lovely voice and relaxed poise, and exudes unabashed, unpretentious enjoyment as she and the band work through tributes to ‘the greatest’ (an accolade that regularly shifts from Liza to Fred and Ginger to Julie Andrews et al), culminating in an extended riff on ‘Singin’ in the Rain’. The arrangements are imaginative and perky and the staging elegant, clever and playful, stocked with bits of amusing business from the band. The show’s structure, however, is less convincing. After half an hour or so of tributes to specific artists comes a potted history of musical theatre with a stress on immigrant culture, some chronologically structured material and other selections. Without a meaningful overarching sense of purpose, the show’s energy dissipates, attention lags and the ending comes as something of a damp squib. Given all the talent, passion and charisma involved, ç’est dommage.
For more from Ben Walters in Edinburgh, follow him @not_television
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