Pros: From the first few moments, it is obvious that Trevor Ashley completely embodies Liza Minnelli’s character. From the pixie haircut, sequined trouser suit and nonsensical chatter, it feels as though Minnelli herself is performing in front of you.
Cons: Some of the back-story and comments that Ashley makes may be lost on those who are unfamiliar with Minnelli’s history.
Renowned Liza Minnelli impersonator Trevor Ashley returned to London for a one off performance to mark the end of his UK tour, which included theatres in Brighton, Manchester and Liverpool. The Lyric Theatre seems the perfect venue for a Minnelli impersonator, given it is the home of Thriller!, which pays homage to her long time friend Michael Jackson.
He is joined by an extremely talented orchestra, including musical director James Simpson, who’s piano playing is something to behold. Ashley offers the audience an insight into Minnelli beyond her singing career, highlighting her infamous marriages, hinting at the sibling rivalry with her sister Lorna Luft and the relationship with her mother, Judy Garland. Not knowing a lot about Minnelli, some of the jokes were a bit lost on me, but those who knew and understood her background better than myself were laughing hysterically – proving that Ashley certainly knows what he’s talking about. The performances of New York, New York and Cabaret were particularly rousing and had the audience on their feet from start to finish.
Although Ashley pokes a bit of fun at Minnelli and her complicated love life and acting career, it is clear that he has a lot of affection and love for her – both as a person and as a professional and it is this that comes across above all else. The rendition of ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’ (which is probably the only time you’ll ever ‘hear’ Liza Minnelli sing this particular song) was moving and earned him a standing ovation.
I went into the production slightly dubious, but soon found myself watching videos of Minnelli performing on the journey home and marveling over what a fantastic job Ashley does as an impersonator. It certainly isn’t for everyone and a few people left a few songs in, but fans of Minnelli were cheering, clapping and begging for more.
Creators: Trevor Ashley and Dean Bryant
Director: Dean Bryant
Musical Director: James Simpson
Booking Link: http://www.lyrictheatrelondon.org.uk/
Booking Until: 7th October 2013