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Powerful rage

PUBLISHED: 12:45 25 September 2008 | UPDATED: 17:26 16 August 2010

The life and songs of one of the 20th century s most interesting characters did not make for an interesting night, writes Marina Soteriou.

The life and songs of one of the 20th century's most interesting characters did not make for an interesting night, writes Marina Soteriou.

Jacques Brel - The Rage To Live, at the Greenwich Theatre last Sunday, promised to bring the singer songwriter's music and life to stage.

The stage consisted of one man, actor Anthony Gable, and two musicians: an accordionist and a keyboardist on a set made up of some depressing office chairs and the musicians respective instruments.

The actor came in late, asked the musicians if they know much of Brel's life.

They say no and so he promises to fill them in between songs.

Although Anthony Cable's talent has no trouble shinning through, when he sings in both English and French, this is not enough for a stage production.

Despite Cable managing to nuance the emotion out of each of Brel's songs, which themselves feel like mini-operas, the evening remained flat.

Between the 15 songs, Cable talks of Brel's bitterness, his guilt towards his wife, his ambitions, and his gradual debilitating effects of lung cancer.

However one is left wondering how this constitutes a production and if they might have been better off watching the real thing on Youtube and reading a book on the great man.

Nonetheless, Cable's delivery of Madeleine and Mathilde are the highlight of the evening and it is pleasant surprise when the songs sung in French, such as Amsterdam, are more powerful than the better known English versions.

marina.soteriou@archant.co.uk


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