FRINGE REVIEW – War Notes, Lili La Scala


1330 (1430) until 29th (not 8th or 16th) @ Gilded Balloon

by Emily P

Opening with the obligatory air raid siren war notes is a neat musical study of the best in early 20th century war-era love songs. Our hostess invites you to sit back, relax and enjoy the songs and that’s a suggestion which it is easy to take up.
Starting with WWI and working through to the classics of the Blitz the set-list will remind you of old favourites whilst introducing you to lesser done numbers. My favourite new track was Lovely Weekend whilst I was quite chuffed to hear the Formby number Mr Woo Is Now An Air Raid Warden
Lili La Scala has the look and the act to carry off the performance of these vintage classics – interacting endearingly with her accompanist and unobtrusively with her audience. Of course all this is the trimming on what is a refreshingly competent classical vocal talent. In a fringe programme packed with comic and modern cabaret you may want to spend an hour with the simple pleasures of a voice genuinely from the stock of Vera and Gracie.
War Notes goes further than this however, and intersperses the tunes with recorded readings of ‘goodbye’ letters written by deceased servicemen from the current conflicts. The first of these is genuinely moving and an eloquent example of the real sentiment behind so many of our war classics. The idea is a nice one to make the connection between the songs and their context, but one example would have been enough and the others do not add any more to a show featuring songs written under the strains of separation through draft as opposed to career choice. Perhaps starting with letters from soldiers of the two World Wars would have made the point more effectively.
This is a good debut on the fringe however and I look forward to seeing Ms La Scala back in future years perhaps in another dress made from a vintage pattern by her mum! Oh, and urge for an encore or you might miss out on everybody’s favourite War Note.

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