By Michelle Fisher
In Grand Central’s small underground theatre last night, Sylvia Brecko enchanted her audience with songs from some of Europe’s leading ladies. Interspersed with stories about their lives, Brecko plays perfectly to her mature audience with a mix of favourite songs and some interesting tid bits about their careers, their loves and their personalities.
Not afraid to poke some fun at herself and her command of the English language, Brecko makes herself instantly real and likeable. During the course of the evening Brecko tells of Piaf’s loves and losses, Dietrich’s entertaining of the troupes during the war, Marilyn and the President, and introduces us to songs where she has rewritten the words to make them a little irreverent and comedic. Switching effortlessly between singing in French, English and her native German, Brecko has a very easy rapport with her audience, telling jokes and making the show more of a cabaret than just an evening of chansons.
A consummate performer, Brecko struggled a little with a few notes as she nursed the aftermath of a bad cold. Her voice otherwise is clear and strong and the audience, in general, didn’t notice or forgave the few imperfections in exchange for her charm and a host of their favourite songs to sing along to.
With some cheeky Marilyn thrown in, some Sophia Loren, and a beautiful song from Bridgette Bardot, Sylvia shows her versatility and training switching from the more serious to lighter sexier numbers, such as Loren’s version of Americano.
A particularly funny sequence, Brecko introduces many in the audience to the world of the Botox party. Here she exercises her strong comedic timing to deliver a song about being ‘under your skin’ with no movement of her face, and as such, leaves the audience chuckling along with her.
For an audience who grew up with these female leading ladies, the hour and a quarter spent with Brecko was a wonderful dalliance back to the past, where Brecko plays cleverly with her audience, delivering exactly what they came to see and leaving them wanting more.
All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.