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 The Theatreguide.London Review

Patti LuPone
Leicester Square Theatre June 2013

Broadway prima diva assoluta Patti LuPone (New York's original Evita, London's original Fantine and Norma Desmond) offers an evening of song and dishing dirt, and what's not to like? 

LuPone's program is structured as an interview by her pianist Seth Rudetsky, punctuated by music whenever a song cue appears. 

We're assured that the repertoire changes at every performance, depending on the train of conversation, but it's safe to assume that the take-no-prisoners 'Everything's Coming Up Roses', the second-best (it being axiomatic that no one can match Stritch) 'Ladies Who Lunch' I've ever heard, the heart-rending 'I Dreamed A Dream' and the Evita encore will be there at every show. 

Beyond that, Rudetsky is likely to push the singer toward any of what he assures us are a thousand songs, even if she occasionally has to don her specs to read the lyrics. 

LuPone is a belter of the old school, who could probably bounce her voice off the back wall of the theatre without a microphone, and she puts to shame a generation of younger singers who couldn't make themselves audible over a single piano – though one fascinating bit of info that comes out of the chat is that she only became a belter because she had no musical training and the only way she knew how to hit the high notes was to push them out through brute force. 

A full house of fans so devoted that they can provide the backing vocals and chorus parts when needed are most delighted, of course, with the songs they've heard her sing on recordings a million times over. 

But I (no less a fan if less fanatic) particularly enjoyed the lesser-known numbers, like the lovely 'Sleepy Man' from The Robber Bridegroom and her Piaf parody 'I Regret Everything'. 

In all, there are likely to be about a dozen songs, along with amiable chat that ranges from autobiography through the real dirt on Sunset Boulevard and why she never created a Sondheim role. 

Seth Rudetsky opens the evening with samples from his collection of funny and bizarre video clips – Leslie Uggams forgetting the words in mid-song, the Osmonds murdering a Fiddler On The Roof medley, even Patti LuPone in an awkward Tony broadcast moment.

Gerald Berkowitz

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Review -   Patti LuPone - Leicester Square Theatre 2013

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