This celebration, in a packed Royal Albert Hall (London) of the life and work
of Dame Elizabeth Taylor, shortly after her investiture at Buckingham Palace,
was a very mixed event in terms of quality.
On the positive side there was Lesley Garrett lustily rejoicing Carly Simon's
(what a talent that woman is!) 'Let the River Run' (that won a best song Academy
Award song for Working Girl), and the debonair Tony Bennett crooning
Irving Berlin's 'Stepping Out', and 'You're All the World to Me'. It was nice
to see the gorgeous, beautifully-gowned Susan George, now concentrating more
on production than acting, relieving the sycophantic David Frost and the smarmy
Stephen Fry of some of their presentation responsibilities. ' Utte Lemper was
suitably decadent in her sultry interpretation of Kurt Weill's 'Mack the Knife'.
The lovely Reba McEntire's 'Secret Love' was a long way from Doris Day's idea
of the song but effective in its droll country-style.
Andrea Bocelli, a favourite of Elizabeth Taylor, added class with his rendition
of 'Canto del a terra'. In contrast came the narcissistic cavortings of Marti
Pellow singing 'Love is all around us' from Four Weddings and a Funeral,
and Jay Kay's ruinous way with Cole Porter's 'From this moment on.' John
Barry conducted a lacklustre James Bond film music suite and Martin McCutcheon
added her own unique style to 'Don't rain on my parade'
Elizabeth Taylor herself added a poignant and heartfelt plea on behalf of the
AIDS and HIV charities – what a Dame! But what a shame the producers displayed
such insensitivity in showing such an unrepresentational selection of her films
(in the form of trailers - what a lazy cop out!) We saw trailers for Giant,
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf , Butterfield 8 and The Last Time I Saw
Paris but not - Cleopatra, National Velvet (or Lassie Come
Home) or The Taming of the Shrew (cited quite rightly by Susan
George as probably Dame Elizabeth's best screen role).
A mixed bag in terms of quality.