Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

It's a Sad but Wonderful Life

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

It's a Sad but Wonderful Life

Article excerpt

Byline: NICHOLAS DE JONGH

Elaine Stritch at Liberty Old Vic

THERE can be few theatrical entertainers over 75 still able to command an audience single-handed for nearly three hours. On the evidence of Elaine Stritch's starry trip down her own memory lane last night, with musical comedy songs, rueful reminiscence and stinging wisecracks, there's little doubt this Broadway star looms large in the tiny league of the exceptional.

And the standing ovation Miss Stritch received at the close could not just be written off as a sentimental tribute to a veteran who reminded us in the beautiful defiance of Sondheim's song from Follies: "I'm still here."

The applause was tribute to an "evening-dragon" of a performance, remarkable in physical and vocal stamina and charismatic vigour. Yes, it's inevitably true her singing voice is not what it used to be. And though she can still rise to a big crescendo, she no longer always achieves the ideal contrast of light and shade. …

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