The Sherman brothers are renowned for their musical contributions to film, most notably the wonderful Mary Poppins in 1964 and the magical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in 1968. With Roberts catchy chord progressions and Richards unforgettable lyrics, they are responsible for more musical song scores than any other songwriting team in film history. However, ‘A Spoonful Of Sherman’, celebrates the entire Sherman family’s musical history, from their father Al Sherman, down to Roberts son, Robert J Sherman, who is to thank for this breath of fresh air musical. The audience are greeted with a homely rustic apartment setting complete with two upright pianos, a lovely lit stage with the apartment windows acting as cycloramas which add a greatly appreciated effect.
The talented cast appear for a stunning first act, singing a Capella one liners from an array of the Sherman family’s familiar hits, arranged by Rowland Lee who uses the typically tasty chordal singing of that era to his advantage. Throughout a well paced act one, we not only hear the songs which made our childhoods a happy one, but songs which we may not have realised the brothers had written, such as the melodic ‘You’re sixteen’, written in 1956 but mostly and remembered for being a number one hit by the recently knighted Ringo Starr in 1973.
Sophie-Louise Dann and Glen Facey play a variety of characters throughout the Sherman’s lives and have incredible fun showcasing their flair on such songs as ‘I wanna be like you (oo oo!)’, from the Jungle Book and ‘the Age Of Not Believing’, From Bed-knobs and Broomsticks. Among a fantastic five person cast is the gorgeous Jenna Innes who, knowing she is a graduate of the hugely talented MTA, lives up to expectations and does not disappoint with beautiful renditions of ‘There’s a Harbour Of Dreamboats’, and ‘Doll on a Music Box’.
Mark Read from the popular nineties boy band A1 and Ben Stocks play the instrumentalists, taking turns at tinkling the ivories and utilising the ukulele in those classic Jungle Book hits. Subtle but effective choreography from Stuart Nicholls who also directs the show, uses clever directional decisions which compliment specific songs. It is clear the whole team has accomplished what was set out to be achieved and the piece as a whole really did pay tribute to the wonderful Sherman family who sometimes go unnoticed with their genius. To quote Al Sherman when talking about what a song should be, this show is ‘singable, sellable and sincere’.
Written by @AlexGrainger07