I feel I should start this review with a very open declaration; I am a big Disney fan. A very big Disney fan. Be it the films, songs or theme parks, I am obsessed with it. So, it was no surprise to anyone I know that when the opportunity to review the new tour of A Spoonful of Sherman came up I would have kicked my cat out of the way to get in their first.
And it was rightly justified. A Spoonful of Sherman is an utter delight of a show. Part cabaret, part history lesson, the show follows the rise of Tin Pan Alley superstar Al Sherman and the subsequent stratospheric careers of his sons Robert and Richard Sherman. The show features all the songs from your childhood including Winnie-The-Pooh, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Jungle Book and the incomparable Mary Poppins.
Each of these songs is sung by a supremely talented cast, some of whom also play the piano, ukulele and even a cow bell. Jenna Innes brings a sweetness and light hearted nature to her ingénue songs and is often paired with the tumbling, jumping, live wire Glen Facey who gave such a fun-filled rendition of ‘I Wanna Be Like You’ I was grinning from ear to ear.
Mark Read’s caramel voice is delightful to listen to and he takes on his fair share of the intricate piano playing. But for me the show was stolen by Sophie Louise Dann and Ben Stock. Stock is a wizard on the piano and his character numbers have the audience in stiches (including The Wonderful Things About Tigers), while Dann is a Diva in the wings. She fills the shoes of Julie Andrews and Angela Lansbury with complete ease and her version of Feed The Birds sends shivers up the spine.
The production design is a very classy affair indeed. Gabriella Blake has very cleverly created a timeless style with the cast in ‘vintage’ costumes that take a little bit from the 20s, a smidge from the 50s and a dash from the 70s. This invokes nostalgia from all ages in the audience and evokes the costumes from Mary Poppins and Bedknobs and Broomsticks.
Honestly, if you like Disney you’ll adore A Spoonful of Sugar. The whole show is filled with whimsy, magic and some of the most memorable songs ever written; it does the Sherman family proud. I can’t remember when I spent a more joyful or moving evening at the theatre.
Reviewed by Roz Carter