Fly back in time on the back of a kite with chimney sweeps dancing on the rooftops of London. Follow a curious bear, with a particular fondness for honey, on his adventures with a little piglet. Then, swing from tree to tree with apes and giant orangutans singing the words “I wanna be like you.” These childhood images are none other than the great works of Disney’s Mary Poppins (1964), Winnie-the-Pooh (1966) and The Jungle Book (1967). What makes these works truly magical are the musical scores and lyrics its creators, Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman (aka the “Sherman Brothers“), bestowed upon them.
To celebrate the family’s musical successes Robert J. Sherman has assembled the stage show, A Spoonful of Sherman, that weaves together a collection of over fifty songs composed and written by his grand father (Al Sherman), father and uncle in chronological order. It brilliantly describes the trials and tribulations of the Shermans’ century-long saga. The show’s name is inspired by the melody the whole world recognises from Mary Poppins, “A Spoonful of Sugar”.
Reliving the Shermans’ family spirit and musical nostalgia, which has touched us all at one time or another, are five astonishing musical theatre actors. Ben Stock has previously performed in shows, such as Grease and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. While accompanying the cast with vibrant piano playing, he stirs the audience’s childhood memories with bubbly and animated performances of “The Wonderful Thing about Tiggers” and “The Aristocats”.
Glen Facey is a marvelous performer too. Having worked on musicals, from The Wizard of Oz to Mary Poppins, his energy and lyrical voice flow effortlessly in “Step in time” and “Love Birds”. He goes ape mode when he sings, “I wanna be like you” and that includes the silly monkey moves, arm-waggling and unexpected cartwheels. Jenna Innes is a stage jewel. Her experience encompasses shows like Animus, and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. She shines the most when she sings “Tall Paul” and “Pineapple Princess” with her soft, smooth voice.
Sophie-Louise Dann’s breadth of musical experience, including The Girls and Made in Dagenham, coupled with her performance at Greenwich Theatre blows the audience away with her bodacious vocal tenacity in ballad-type songs, such as “Tell him anything” and “Feed the birds”. And Mark Read, who was a member of the boy band A1, has also sung in musicals including Guys and Dolls. On stage, he displays an array of talent from singing mellow and jazzy songs like “Hushabye Mountain”, “River Song” to whistling like a bird in “A Spoonful of Sugar”.
For the ensemble numbers, notably in “Snoopy come home”, “It’s a small world (after all) and “Me ol’ bamboo”, all of the soloists know how to make the audience feel right at home. When they are on stage together they are in sync: they harmonise exquisitely and their group dances are graceful and light-footed.
This brilliantly staged family show is currently on tour. It began its tour in Darlington, on March 12th, and travelled to Windsor. It has now landed at London’s Greenwich Theatre. A Spoonful of Sherman shall be performing until March 30th before moving on to the Buxton Opera House. Whether you are a devoted fan of Julie Andrews, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Charlotte’s Web or a fan of classic 40s numbers from the likes of Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald, this show is bound to touch your heart.
A Spoonful of Sherman is showing at the Greenwich Theatre now until March 30th.
Buy your ticket online here.
For more information about A Spoonful of Sherman, click here.
(I was provided a press ticket on March 26th by the PR company.)