Liza Liza Liza at the Tabard Theatre
With flashy dance routines, grandiose musical numbers and a stiff drink in hand, Richard Harris’ versions of Liza Minnelli are exuberant, charming and surprisingly candid in Phil Willmott’s production of Liza Liza Liza at the Tabard Theatre in West London.
Collectively retelling their story from three distinct periods in her life (Liza as a hopeful teen, Liza at the height of her career and Liza now), all jovially reminisce about the past but challenge one another critically when discussing relationships, career choices and addiction on an arduous journey to fame.
Stephanie Ticknell-Smith is lovable and endearing as young Liza. She convincingly and enthusiastically embodies the youthful spirit as she twirls and prances about on stage, eagerly expressing her passion for performing. Her reverent and naive reflection on her father’s encouragement and her mother’s dependence is authentic and tellingly indicates her age. Liza 1’s limited interaction with a mother who sits in a dark corner of the stage with her back to the audience, never turning away from the mirror as she applies her make-up, is insightful and gives the audience a sense of Liza’s familial life while also offering an explanation for her continuous search for love and reassurance.
Depicting Liza in her mid-20s to late 30s, Sabrina Carter is confident and sexy as we watch the entertainer’s transition from young adult to wild sex symbol. Although Liza 2 has had many professional successes at this point in her career, her private life is all over the papers. The disheartened way in which she describes lovers and her on-going battle with drugs, alcohol and weight gain reveals an incredibly emotional and hardworking character who pushes her own limits in an attempt to overcome difficulties beyond her control. Carter’s rendition breaks convention about the celebrity and exposes a great deal of depth and inner conflict.
With wisdom and acceptance, Felicity Duncan as modern Liza leads the conversation naturally and it’s as if you’re spending an evening with a long-lost friend, immersed in a story they’ve been dying to share.
Musically directed and accompanied on the piano by Neil MacDonald, the compilation of Minnelli classics like New York, New York, Ring Them Bells and Cabaret will have you singing along, dancing in your seat, in awe of the star that is Liza Minnelli.
Liza Liza Liza is at the Tabard Theatre until 29th September 2013. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.