Theatre Review: Liza Liza Liza - Tabard Theatre ✭✭✭✭

Liza Liza Liza
Tabard Theatre
Review by Emma Curry

10th September 2013: Liza Minnelli is one of those ubiquitous figures that everyone seems to feel that they know, whether as the daughter of Judy Garland, the award-winning star of Cabaret, or, more recently, the vertigo-suffering cougarish next-door neighbour in Arrested Development.

Richard Harris’s new show navigates the audience through all of these Liza's and more, presenting the story through the words of three actresses who portray Liza at different ages. It’s a neat premise, and one which allows for many hilarious and heart-breaking moments, as the Liza's disagree on how to read an event or present the same aspects of the story differently. Covering Liza’s difficult childhood, her rocky relationship with her mother, her battles with drugs, drink, and depression, and her complicated love life, the show gives you a fascinating insight into the turbulent and alienating world of the celebrity, yet the warm, conversational style in which it is told (and the small, intimate space of the Tabard theatre) mean that it remains engaging, moving, and, ultimately, upbeat.

This buoyant atmosphere is helped by the inclusion of some of Liza’s most famous musical numbers, which both lighten the tone in the darker moments and serve to demonstrate Liza’s passion for her work. The song and dance routines are performed brilliantly despite the small space, and the closing rendition of Cabaret had the whole audience clapping along.

All three actresses are absolutely fantastic, capturing Liza at key moments in her life with ease. Stephanie Ticknell-Smith brought a cheerful optimism and guilelessness to Liza’s younger self, whilst Sabrina Carter was vampish yet manic as Cabaret­-era Liza, but Felicity Duncan deserves especial praise for her portrayal of present-day Liza: her accent and likeness were so uncanny that by the end of the show I was convinced she actually was Liza.

All in all, whether you’re a diehard fan, or know nothing at all about this cultural icon, you’ll find something to amaze you in the Tabard’s latest show. Besides, as Liza herself would say: ‘What use is sitting alone in your room? Come to the Cabaret!'

Four stars

Liza Liza Liza – A new play by Richard Harris
Dates: 4-29 September 2013
Venue: Tabard Theatre, 2 Bath Road, London, W4 1LW
Times: Sat 7.30 pm, Matinees Sat 4.00 pm / Sun 2.30 pm
Price: From £20 (Concession £18)
Nearest Tube: Turnham Green (District Line)