CD Review – Blondel – Original Cast Recording

BlondelBLONDEL – Original Cast Recording (Stage Door Records – STAGE 9050)

Originally released as a double album in 1983, Stage Door Records has remastered the original cast recording of Tim Rice and Stephen Oliver’s Blondel and issued it on a double CD set with a couple of bonus tracks thrown in for good measure.

I remember seeing this production at the Aldwych Theatre in 1984 (actually, it was their last night and my birthday – 22 September) and it was an absolute hoot.

I do, however, remember thinking at the time it was overly long – whether that is just my memory playing tricks or not I can’t be sure. But listening to this wonderful cast recording brings it all back.

Paul Nicholas as Blondel was amazing and Sharon Lee Hill played a wonderful Fiona and had one of the two songs to make it out of the production and into the charts: ‘Running Back for More’.

But it was David Burt and Chris Langham stuck in my mind as Prince John (King Richard’s brother) and The Assassin respectively. Almost pantomimic, but I still broke into a huge smile when listening to their track, ‘Assassin’s Song’, even after all these years.

There is one song that has stuck with me since I saw the production, and that is Nicholas singing ‘The Least of my Troubles’ (the other song that made it out of the show). I, along with half the country, had a bit of a crush on Nicholas and I remember almost melting in my seat when he sang it that night. Ever since then it has been one of my top ten musical theatre memories and is played frequently on my iPhone.

The rest of the cast, including, Cantabile, Stephen Tate, Kevin Williams and Tracy Booth are brilliant – not forgetting the fabulous Blondettes!

It’s also great to hear the bonus tracks which are: Sharon Lee Hill’s single version of ‘Running Back for More’, Colm Wilkinson singing ‘The Least of My Troubles’ and Murray Head’s version of ‘Running Back for More’. As with all the Stage Door Records releases, it also contains a lovely booklet with the production photos that were used in the original gate sleeve of the LP release.

A timely re-issue as the production is having a brand new staging at the Union Theatre later in the year. Hopefully this will spark a lot of interest in a show that has maybe been forgotten over the last 30 years but, as with all good shows, never goes away.

Nick Wakeham

buy_from_dresscircleClick HERE to buy from Dress Circle.

Readers may also be interested in:

Blondel premiere at the Union Theatre – cast details – News

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