T H E L O O K O F L O V E
E V O C A T I V E / P R O V O C A T I V E
Following the success of her Marlene Dietrich cabaret Falling in Love Again, Jennifer Ward-Lealand takes centre stage again with The Look of Love, Evocative/Provocative - a cabaret show celebrating love in all its guises.
Featuring songs by Cole Porter, Stephen Sondheim, Burt Bacharach, Jacques Brel, Kris Kristofferson, George Harrison and more, The Look of Love reunites Jennifer with musical director and pianist Grant Winterburn, bassist Aaron Coddel and lighting designer Andrew Malmo for a sophisticated and glamorous night of song.
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Review, Taranaki Daily News, 30 July 2009:
CLASSY, sophisticated, elegant and intriguing.
Those adjectives could be attributed to the venue as well as Jennifer Ward-Lealand's show The Look of Love. Her dresses even reflected the stunning light that sparkled majestically from the centre of the ceiling of the speigeltent Salon Perdu.
As part of the Taranaki International Festival of the Arts, the Kiwi actress wowed a packed tent with vocals that at times caused goosebumps.
Although many of the songs, about types of love, were unfamiliar, Ward-Lealand's presence and performance mesmerized and entertained. The accompaniment of the grand piano and double bass added to the sublime experience.
It was a show through the ages, with Ward-Lealand singing songs from the 1920s and adding her own spin to the musings of more contemporary composers such as George Harrison and John Lennon.
I was transported from music halls to lounge bars and beyond during this stylish show.
Held in such a stunning venue, the show was a complete magical package.
-Review by Greta Cleary
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Review, The Nelson Mail, 19 July 2008:
Ward-Lealand Smooth and Sultry
The Look of Love, Jennifer Ward-Lealand at the Nelson School of Music. Last night. Reviewed by Paula Cunniffe
With a powerhouse voice and goddess-like proportions, Jennifer Ward-Lealand shimmied on stage in true professional cabaret style to another sold-out festival audience.
I’ve always been in awe of Ward-Lealand’s mouth, watching her on television as a comedienne and later on in her movie performances with those amazing teeth and a calm and sultry speaking voice.
Last night with a tone only a shade higher than a whisper, that mouth became a dynamic vessel for note-perfect sound as it broke into song.
Above a setting of round candle-lit tables within the auditorium, Ward-Lealand sang carefully chosen songs that flirted with the theme of love – soppy, funny and lusty. Sometimes a wee bit naughty, as in Tom Lehrer’s exquisitely painful Masochism Tango, a surprising crowd rouser among some of Nelson’s most conservative.
Being a romantic-love cynic, the theme name could have scared me off from attending. But with the broad range of songs chosen it gave a balanced representation that avoided the cliché one-sidedness of being in love.
In between, Ward-Lealand made reference to her own love connections in the form of family and her own meanings in relation to those that composed them.
Personal favourites were Dave Frishberg’s Peel Me a Grape, and my own foolish escapades in John Meyer’s I’d Like to Hate Myself in the Morning, as well as Cole Porter’s Let’s Misbehave.
The ultimate performance was Bobbie Gentry’s Ode to Billy Joe, a song I’d never quite understood the lyrics to until Ward-Lealand melted it out over a rapturous audience.
Ward-Lealand was accompanied by pianist-musical director Grant Winterburn and bassist Aaron Coddel. Both audibly and visibly luscious in themselves – they could have been the only ones there and still made it a great show.
The decision to include Ward-Lealand in this festival programme was a sharp one.
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Times, 19 February 2007:
What: The Look of Love, at the Hamilton Gardens Summer Festival
Who: Jennifer Ward-Lealand with musical director and pianist Grant Winterburn, bassist Aaron Coddel and lighting designer Andrew Malmo
Where: Victorian Garden Conservatory, last night
Reveiwed by: Denise Irvine
Jennifer Ward-Lealand is the complete package - she does theatre, film and TV and she has a fine singing voice as well.
Last night she brought her latest cabaret show - “celebrating love in all its guises” - to the Hamilton Gardens Summer Festival for a single outing and had a crowded house hanging on every song.
With her handsome presence, powerful range, excellent diction, and easy transitions from comedy to classics, Ward-Lealand can’t miss. Yet although she makes it look easy, engaging the audience with favourites from Stephen Sondheim, Cole Porter, Kris Kristofferson, Bobbie Gentry and others, the show is underpinned by the utmost professionalism.
It’s hard to pick favourites from this current show, because they were all good, from the sensual, velvety voiced Peel Me A Grape to the quirky comedy of Tom Lehrer’s Masochism Tango, and Irving Berlin’s haunting What’ll I Do When You Are Far Away. But if I had to choose a stand-out, it would be Ward-Lealand’s rendition of Bobbie Gentry’s bittersweet Ode to Billy Joe. Close your eyes, forget about the hanging baskets of the Victorian Conservatory, and you’re right up there with a grieving girl on Choctaw Ridge.
(photo: Andrew Malmo)
With thanks to Alison's Acquisitions, Parnell, for the flower bouquet used during the show.
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The Look of Love, Evocative/Provocative
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