The Song Project at the Royal Court Theatre
The Song Project started out as a collaborative experiment that involved bringing together artists and playwrights of different backgrounds to explore the concept that some stories can only be sung. Created by Chloe Lamford, Wende, Isobel Waller-Bridge and Imogen Knight, it is essentially a set of 18 songs that are fantastically engaging.
The musical numbers are performed by a quartet consisting of Nils Davidse (piano), Louise Anna Duggan (percussion), Midori Jaeger (cello) and, of course, Wende as the vocal lead and occasionally at the piano. They are supported by lighting designer Lee Curran, who works some magic in producing an astonishingly atmospheric show. The team has beautiful chemistry on stage and clearly enjoy creating compositions together.
The lyrics, written by EV Crowe, Sabrina Mahfouz, Somalia Nonyé Seaton, Stef Smith and Debris Stevenson, are often very powerful and target a number of themes with an impressive emotional range. The stanzas take the audience from rage to sex, from motherhood to lost love and from hope to pure hatred. It is the music that ultimately steals the night and often portrays feelings that can otherwise only be suggested through words.
Wende’s performance enchants viewers. With a powerful voice and a virtually flawless musical finesse she manages to pull off each song with equal control, from the mystically dark opening Dark Black Pool to the oddly intoxicating and subtly angry Horror Story and the heart-wrenching Where You Gonna Go.
Needless to say, The Song Project is a fantastic production with several beautiful numbers, and one wishes that more contemporary music was of this calibre. Although the premise may not be quite as novel as suggested, the result is nevertheless wonderful and well worth a hearty recommendation.
Photo: Ali Wright
The Song Project is at the Royal Court Theatre from 17th August until 28th August 2021. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.