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Tuesday, October 20, 2015


(Chris Vale & Neil Krog)

Entertaining musical revue full of fun and many pithy observations. (Review by Keith Millar)

Performing as Lyra Lounge, Chris Vale (vocals) and Neil Krog (piano) enjoyed a successful visit to the Rhumbelow Theatre’s Music Feast in April with their show, Aural Alchemy.

They promised at the time that they would return with a new show later in the year. Thankfully they kept that promise and they appeared on the stage at Umbilo’s Rhumbelow Theatre this past week-end with their entertaining musical revue Love & Other War Stories.

At first glance, one may think that this is rather cynical title. But the show is full of fun and many pithy observations as it examines all sides of love and passion through the medium of some excellent music.

The show’s playlist is a well thought-out mixed bag, with each musical item chosen to illustrate an aspect of love.

Included are songs from musicals such as Something’s Coming from West Side Story, Who I’d Be from Shrek, If Ever I would Leave You from Camelot, Razzle Dazzle from Chicago, Cole Porter’s Where’s The Life That Late I Led from Kiss Me, Kate; You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught from South Pacific and Do You Hear The People Sing from Les Misérables.

From the movies there is Speak Softly, Love from The Godfather and I’ve Loved You for a Thousand Years from Twilight. For good measure Rollin’ in the Deep by Adele, Queen’s Too Much Love Will Kill You and a rousing version of Billy Joel’s Piano Man are also included in the show.

Chris Vale is a classically trained singer who has a beautifully lyrical voice. He interprets the songs with passion and understanding while his control, phasing and diction are excellent. Neil Krog on the piano offers a rich and sympathetic accompaniment. There is a very real chemistry evident between these two artists which adds an element of great warmth to their performances.

It is always pleasing to see performers grow and develop. In April, Chris Vale gave a stand-and-deliver performance. He seemed almost shy on stage. This time he is quite animated as he chats amiably and confidently with the audience while linking his observations about love and hate to the music he sings.

Love & Other War Games is another fine piece of musical entertainment produced by the Rhumbelow Theatre. Roland Stansell and his team deserve kudos for their tireless efforts in promoting and growing this genre of entertainment. – Keith Millar