Review: Sentimental ‘Memories of My Father’ presents disjointed portrait of man with a tragic side
The music is so well crafted and delivered so effortlessly that one can’t help but think of those Hollywood musicals of the ’40s, ’50s or ’60s.
For those who loved the likes of Rodgers & Hammerstein, Lerner & Loewe and Gilbert and Sullivan, the appeal of John Barry’s ‘Memories of My Father’ could not have been greater.
And yet this one-time grandee, whose career in show business stretched back to the 1920s, has done what few have done—created an original work.
Its only flaw comes from the time it took to set up the production’s rather fragmented storyline.
This is in no way a perfect score but it’s a very fine one, perfectly tuned to be the perfect companion piece to a biographical work.
The musical opens with a musical number in which we are introduced to the central character: an ageing man, who has recently returned to his hometown.
The opening number is a song, ‘The Man I Used to Be’, and a number of the songs are songs and a number of the songs are love songs.
The music throughout the music has that old-fashioned feel that makes this one a wonderful experience on paper with such good material.
There are only a few moments that come near to being ‘perfect’.
The number itself is a bit of a ‘let it come as it does’ because there is a sense that it could be done better…a bit like the best shows on Broadway – but only in the sense that a perfect show is never the one on Broadway.
The first song we hear is one of the most touching in terms of how the music evokes a certain kind of memory and how it then builds on that theme.
At the end of this number we are introduced to the character of the narrator. The way he looks at his life from a slightly different perspective is an interesting element of the story.
A good way to describe it is to say that he is looking back on his life from an entirely different place. The character is very like the narrator of Mark Harelik’s ‘