Review: Liza Pulman Sings Streisand
Singer, actor and one-third of cabaret group Fascinating Aida, Liza Pulman is on the road with her new show that honours the legendary icon Barbra Streisand.
Liza creates a thrilling and vibrant 90-minute set showcasing Barbra’s sensational career and finest musical numbers. The American singer, songwriter, actress, and filmmaker Barbra Streisand had a remarkable career spanning 6 decades and Liza draws this into a humorous and entertaining show that tells the story of Barbra Streisand through her iconic hits, enhanced by Liza’s exceptional 6-piece band The Stardust Ensemble.
There is no doubt Streisand has a catalogue of hits, but Liza draws together a strong array of numbers that span her impressive career, demonstrating her immense ability to sing just about anything and make it her own. Kicking off with Barbra’s powerful number Don’t Rain On My Parade from the musical Funny Girl, Liza sings soulfully with a jazzy flair, displaying her tremendous vocal talent. Starting as she means to go on, Liza doesn’t do an impression or tribute act to Barbra, but uses her exemplary vocal talent and stage presence to bring Barbra’s music to life.
Interjected within the music, Liza fuses her show with wit and humour as she tells the story of Barbra’s life, even including personal anecdotes. After the high-spirited opening, Liza slows it down with You’ve Got A Friend written by Carole King that appears on her album Barbra Joan Streisand.
Despite her phenomenal musical credits, Barbra only ever actually appeared in two Broadway musicals, the first being I Can Get It for You Wholesale by Harold Rome. Liza delves into the history of the musical which wasn’t particularly strong until Barbra stepped out on stage in the second act to sing Miss Marmelstein, which has the audience instantly on their feet, rising Barbra Streisand to fame. Liza plays tribute to this with her expressive and energetic performance of the fearlessly funny song.
Displaying the fine range of Ms Streisand, Liza strips it back to a touching performance of Sleeping Bee accompanied by Andy Taylor’s beautiful guitar. A pivotal moment in Barbra’s career is when she stepped on live television to sing with Judy Garland and Liza highlights this with a stunning number that displays her sweet and crisp vocal tones, which also shines in her rendition of New York State Of Mind.
Opening the second act of the evening, led by the extraordinary musical director Joseph Atkins, The Stardust Ensemble are multi-talented as they bring an abundance of dynamic instruments to show the diversity of Ms Streisand and her classic musical numbers. Neil Diamond’s You Don’t Bring Me Flowers is performed by Liza with poignancy and emotion.
Ending with two phenomenal belters, Happy Days Are Here Again and People, Liza’s vocal range is nothing less than astonishing. She encapsulates the audience with each musical number that is bursting with characterisation. Her stage presence is fused with knowledge and charisma to bring a well-rounded show that is entertaining, engaging and a sincere tribute to the phenomenon that is Barbra Streisand.