A run of Sunday night concerts at the Theatre Royal continued last week with a visit from one of the 60s legends of song, Petula Clark. Now in her ninth decade she might not have the wide range which served her well in performances such as ‘I Don’t Know How To Love Him’, but her set-list here, with an appreciative audience in London, does give an indication of the range she still has.
Her new album, ‘Lost in You’, is a mix of re-workings of old hits, and covers of more modern material (such as ‘Crazy’ by Gnarls Barkley). We heard several pieces from it – a version of Elvis’s ‘Love Me Tender’, one of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’, a piece with Clark’s lyrics to the music of Bach – ‘Reflections’, and the title song itself, which is a tender and slow ballad, beautifully put across.
(Here’s Petula singing ‘Lost in You’, on Belgian television).
The 1960s songbook still remains a crowd-pleaser: ‘Colour My World’, ‘Sailor’, ‘This Is My Song’, ‘I Couldn’t Live Without Your Love’, ‘I Know A Place’, ‘A Sign Of The Times’, ‘Don’t Sleep In The Subway’, and, of course, ‘Downtown’. Her obvious energy and enjoyment in performing these songs is infectious and if she doesn’t always reach the notes, well, she is a bona fide star and still gives a great show.
She also gave a nod to her work in musicals – a couple of songs from the film she made with Fred Astaire and Tommy Steele, ‘Finian’s Rainbow’, and ‘With One Look’ in full Norma Desmond mode from ‘Sunset Boulevard’ (a role I saw her play, and she was sensational, even more so when she confides she did not like the character at all).
I’d also add that this lady is graceful, looks great, dresses well and with style, and is gracious in praise of those she has worked with and known (Elvis, Lennon, Dusty, Karen Carpenter). It is easy to forget what a huge star Petula Clark was in her day, and she well deserved the standing ovation she received at the end of the night.