Beguiled by Amanda McBroom’s debut London Performance
Sheridan Morley, Boz Magazine – May 1996
It is not easy to become a London star overnight, especially when that night happens to be a Bank Holiday Monday and you are in a half-filled house at Pizza On The Park in Knightsbridge.
As she herself quite reasonably asks of a local audience, “Who the hell am I?”.
Well, she is Amanda McBroom, forty something, a Californian cabaret singer whose main claim to international fame is that she wrote “The Rose” for Bette Midler. She has also written maybe a hundred songs of breathtaking intelligence and emotion.
True, she is a lyricist first, a singer second, and perhaps a composer third: you do not leave the Music Room whistling a medley even of her one hit. But you certainly go home feeling that you have made a joyous discovery of a truly intelligent, literate writer-performer whose songs (she seldom sings those of anyone else) are effectively short stories in the Sondheim tradition.
Her lyrics sometimes run to four or five syllables (when did you last hear one of those?) and at her considerable best she is a brilliant historian of the old Hollywood Hills which remain her home. Believe me, there is a kind of rare greatness hers: a thoughtful, touching, lyrical writer, brilliantly backed by Joel Silberman at the piano. Her songs are rueful rather than bitter, elegant rather than electric. If you can imagine a child of Jaques Brel and dory Previn, who wings the beige rather than the blues, then you begin to understand the magic here.
You have until June 8th to catch her (twice nightly, 9:15pm and 11:15pm). If there is any justice left in show business, you should not even be able to get standing room.