Mandy Patinking – Live in Concert
Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London until November 19
Mandy Patinkin may not necessarily be a household name on this side of the Atlantic, but he is a Broadway legend. He originated the role of Che in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Evita and appeared in the film The Princess Bride, and now, at the age of 70, he has about him the air of a grand old man of the stage.
It’s just him up on the stage for 90 minutes straight through in Mandy Patinkin – Live in Concert with Adam Ben-David on the piano and Patinkin belts out everything from Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody to Being Alive. He stops along the way for anecdotes about his Jewish identity and observations about his career and even the British royal family.
I could have done with more Stephen Sondheim – a speciality of his – but the fact there was a show just a few doors up specifically devoted to that great man appeared to have made him feel he shouldn’t overdo his work. Some of his choices weren’t the greatest showcases for his undoubted talents and every now and again it all felt a wee bit self-indulgent.
The high point of the evening for me was a rousing rendition of You’ve Got to Be Perfectly Taught – the song from South Pacific that made such an eloquent argument against prejudice and hatred – which of course took on an unbearable poignancy in the context of the ongoing tragedy in the Middle East.