By Isabella Fraser
This show does exactly what it says on the tin – it is an homage to Dame Vera Lynn, interspersed with anecdotes about her life and the songs that she was known for. Ably sung by Melanie Gall, it is a light-hearted but entertaining show. Song sheets are provided for the audience to sing along with and, while the audience is in the main composed of the older generation, the songs themselves will still be familiar to many.
Gall explains this is a new show for her and at times, this is clear in the sometimes jarring moves between facts about Lynn, recordings of her voice and the connection to the songs being sung. The audience interaction is not always smooth and Gall does not seem entirely comfortable with ad libs, even when encouraging the audience to singalong, as per the provided song sheets.
A stronger link between the facts and songs would help to bring clarity to the show. The audience was also very keen to join in the songs and the song sheets are a great idea, so developing ways to encourage the audience participation may help to make the interactions seem more instinctive and natural, rather than feeling somewhat forced.
What is a strength of the show is that Gall is obviously a talented singer. She is not imitating Lynn but doing her own version of the Lynn classics, including Wish Me Luck (As You Wave Me Goodbye) and We’ll Meet Again. This is a great time to be involved in a war-time show, even if it is a different war being remembered. A good singsong with the audience is a crowd pleaser: the potential is there and with some time to bed in this show, it should develop.
We’ll Meet Again: Vera Lynn, The Forces Sweetheart runs @ 17.05 @ theSpace @ Surgeons Hall until 26/08/17; Running time 55 mins.