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It's Only Life at the Union Theatre

REVIEW | It’s Only Life | The Union Theatre

Celebrating the highs, lows and multitude of emotions in life, John Bucchino’s musical revue It’s Only Life is a life-affirming piece of theatre about what makes us who we are.

Known for his catalogue of beautiful music, John Bucchino’s songs have been recorded and performed by Judy Collins, Patti Lupone, Audra MacDonald and Liza Minnelli. This production pulls at the heartstrings as it explores the emotional components of life.

Settled inside The Union Theatre, a gorgeous spot in Southwark that creates intimacy in its surroundings. Designer Justin Williams has created a visual set that uses bright, contemporary colour to create a simplistic set with a twist. Twenty-three of John’s exquisitely crafted songs have been moulded into a production.

The cast of five, Jennifer Harding, Jordan Shaw, Noel Sullivan, Sammy Graham and Will Carey are unique in their performance. They gel together to create an ensemble of immense energy and passion.

Will Carey shines as he brings youth and charisma through his authentic performance. He captures the humour in songs like Contact High and a genuine sense of longing in Unexpressed. Noel Sullivan has a strong presence with his powerful vocals and tender emotion. His solo number Grateful is heart-wrenching as he sings of the blessings in life – backed by the harmonious ensemble.

Jennifer Harding has a crisp tone that is entirely expressive, she is triumphant both in her empowering numbers and in the moments of vulnerability like I Learned to Let Things Go. Sammy Graham brings a youthful energy to the show and has a lovely number This Moment showcasing her sublime vocals. Jordan Shaw really stands out with his soulful and jazzy tones, he brings a real depth of emotion to his numbers and If I Say I’m Over You is the most poignant solo in the show.

Director Tania Azevedo has created this jigsaw of stories that tie together to create a piece of art. Choreographer William Whelton moves the piece along fluidly with his slick movement, each fuelled with huge character. Although some of the pace moved a little too fast, you still found yourself connecting to characters.

Musical Director Nick Barstow is an astounding talent. Not only did he orchestrate the intricate tight harmonies and the divine sound of the cast as an ensemble, but he plays the piano remarkably throughout the show.

It’s Only Life is a glorious collection of music performed by a strong ensemble that bring each individual story to life. There is a song that will resonate with everyone, whether you’ve felt love, loss, fulfilment, disappointment, pain, or any emotion that goes into this thing we call life.

On at The Union Theatre until the 7th of July, tickets and information can be found online here.


Photo Credit: Pamela Raith

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