A Spoonful of Sherman continues at Live At Zédel, London until 20 August.
Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩
The Sherman Brothers made their mark in film history with a repertoire including Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and The Jungle Book, just to name a few.
A Spoonful of Sherman tells the story of three generations of song writers from Al Sherman who wrote songs like ‘Save Your Sorrow (For Tomorrow)’ and ‘You Gotta Be a Football Hero’; Richard and Robert Sherman (as mentioned above); and, last but not least, Robert (Robbie) J Sherman who wrote the music for Bumblescratch and Love Birds. The audience also learns that Al Sherman’s father was a well-regarded violinist in the Ukraine who composed for Emperor Franz Josef.
The show takes the audience along memory lane and describes some of the family’s musical highlights, narrated by Robert J Sherman, and featuring Helena Blackman, Daniel Boys and Christopher Hamilton on piano.
It’s particularly heart-warming to hear Robert talk about his family and how he is very proud he is of their contributions to the world of music.
Perhaps it would be difficult to organise at this particular venue, but it would have been nice to have his stories backed with a selection of photos or videos, just to bring a little more life to the charming reminiscences. This extra visual back story would only help the audience engage further with the special memories shared throughout the night.
Boys and Blackman take on the tremendous task of performing the songs in front of one of the very composers being celebrated and they definitely do the material justice.
Blackman’s voice is perfect for roles such as Mary Poppins and Truly Scrumptious, and Boys puts his everything into every song he sings, with ‘I Wanna Be Like You’ being a particular moment to pinpoint.
Their chemistry also helps bring the songs to life, as does Hamilton’s contribution. The musical sequences become just as entertaining to watch out of context as they are in the much-loved films they hail from.
In a particularly emotional moment, Robert takes to the piano to play and sing ‘River Song’ from Tom Sawyer, as it was written for him by his father.
Disney fans will particularly enjoy themselves with the song list, but it’s not just for them, it’s just a delightful night of nostalgia for everyone involved.