Here’s the latest in a series of trailers made to publicise my new show, Vivienne. I’ve chosen a short section of one of the songs that captures not only what the whole is about (Vivienne and her marriage to TS Eliot) but also demonstrates the quality of the creative contributors to the piece.
Stephen McNeff has written a lot of other music in the past for me, but this is the first time that there has been a specific musical point of reference, in the form of the popular songs of the time and the music halls where Tom and Viv loved to go dancing. He is writing in a consciously romantic vein to capture Viv’s own mis-placed romanticism, as well nodding to Weill, Walton’s Facade, Novello and Sondheim.
The other element I want to highlight is the quality of Andy Rashleigh’s texts, which are very lyrical yet have extraordinary bite and wit. The songs are full of historical and literary references, all woven in with such skill that you have to be alert to spot them all as they go past – a great game to be played by any audience members who are familiar with the doings of the Bloomsbury Group and Eliot’s poetry in particular.
Libby Burgess and I worked through the songs for the first time and they just leapt off the page and took shape. It’s going to be a great show!