There are three types of theatre my Theatre Studies teacher told me she hated like the plague. The first is pantomime. Well whilst I don’t hate it, I certainly have to be in the right mood for it. The second is musical, something I find a tad ironic considering she seems to perform in a lot of them. The third is dinner theatre. In all honesty I don’t think she knows what she’s missing. Especially as Sailing Somewhere fits into the last of these categories and it’s leading lady has done all three types of theatre.
It’s always, and I do mean always, a treat to see Suanne Braun perform. Especially when you find yourself in an intimate theatre setting where you’re sat (unintentionally) in the front row, or on this occasion at one of the front tables by the maître d’. Sailing Somewhere is no exception on that list of treats that have joined my list of favourite shows in the past twelve months, and three of them have involved performances by the wonderful Ms. Braun. It’s filled with humorous moments and also has an extremely heart-wrenching core that caused me to sob amongst strangers for the first time in a very long time.
Sailing Somewhere is the tale of a lounge singer on a cruise ship. She’s quite vivacious and rather bawdy on the surface, but when you scratch underneath, there’s so much more there. The depth of character and the difficulty of the life she’s led aren’t the easiest part for any actor, seasoned or otherwise, to undertake, and not only does Suanne do so incredibly well, she does so with a layer of depth that I honestly hadn’t seen in her performances until tonight, and I have always known that she’s capable of depth in performance.
With the play being set around the life of a ship’s singer, you’d expect there to be music involved, and the piano playing that accompanies Suanne singing is expertly done, with some wonderful moments of comic brevity. The musical score itself is divine and the book compliments the script perfectly. Suanne’s depth of performance carries on over into her singing. The sheer amount of emotion that is pushed through every song pulls on your heart strings as we go from the typical cabaret style song at the beginning to the heartbreaking lullaby for her daughter Zoe.
I might be a sadist in that I enjoy opening night performances as an audience member and in my amateur theatre days I enjoyed them as an actor, so seeing tonight’s opening night was my ideal chance to see the performance as close to raw as possible. And if that was a performance with first night glitches and snags, we as audience members didn’t notice them, at all. In fact, I’m sure that there may have been one or two ad-libs in there somewhere that covered them up if they happened at all.
The show has been written and directed by Matthew Hurt, with songs by Conor Mitchell. Both of whom have worked amazingly well together to produce something cohesive and, well, perfect for Suanne’s skillset. With Musical Director, Noam Galperin, Stage Manager, Reuben Batdorff, and Producer, Zoë Simpson.
Sailing Somewhere is being performed at Crazy Coqs at Brasserie Zédel until 2nd March with Saturday’s performance sold out from what I hear, so get your tickets now!
As always, my usual disclaimer – I have not been asked to write this review, any review I place on my website is because I think something is worth talking about and deserves to be put out in the universe.