Songs of Love and Laughter by Irving Berlin; George Gershwin; Marve
Fisher; Cole Porter; Kurt Weill, Jerome Kern; Noel Coward;
Stephen Sondheim; and Flanders and Swann.
This is a delicious treat of often naughty songs sung with great sly, coy
wit by Barbara Kennedy, an experienced opera and operetta singer. How seductively
she sings, "
I love to run my fingers over the keys" and "
Oh! I love an upright
" in the opening number - Irving Berlin's I love
a piano. Then she complains in Cole Porter's The Physician that - "
looked after my physical condition and his bedside manner was great
said my bronchial tubes were entrancing
but he never said he loved me!"
Returning to Irving Berlin we have the title song, You'd Be Surprised in
which we learn that although Johnny is bashful "
when you get him
you can't judge a book by its cover
You'd be Surprised!".
George and Ira Gershwin's My Cousin in Milwaukee had boy friends by the dozen
when she sings hot, you can't be solemn, it sends shivers up and
down your spinal column..." Barbara then assures that she is Just an
old-fashioned girl in Marve Fisher's song but she dreams of being supported
by an old fashioned millionaire. Let Me Sing and I'm Happy she then pleads
to Irving Berlin's music. Kurt Weill's The Saga of Jenny tells of headstrong
Jenny who leaves a trail of devastation behind her as she advances through
life - "Jenny made her mind up at twenty-two that to get a husband was the
thing to do
she got herself a husband but it wasn't hers
Kern is reperesented by his sentimental, Bill
Two numbers from Cole Porter's Kiss Me Kate are included: So in Love sung
and played with heavy irony and I hate Men - "
In our democracy I hate
the most the athlete with his manner bold and brassy, he may have hairs upon
his chest, but, sisters, so has Lassie!" Porter's My Heart Belongs To Daddy
has Kennedy getting her comfortable priorities right. Flanders and Swann's
A Word in My Ear ("
I'm lauded, applauded, recorded but they seem to
have missed that I'm Tone Death") is a brilliantly funny take-off of musical
mannerisms. Noel Coward says We must all be very kind to Auntie Jessie for
she has never been a mother or a wife. Stephen Sondheim is represented by
two numbers. Losing My Mind is a song about loneliness and unrequited love
sung by Kennedy with understated yet affecting poignancy. I Never Do Anything
Twice is another comic pearl - "
no matter how nice, I never do anything
once, yes, once is delicious; but twice would be vicious or merely