Written and directed by Hope Murphy Nanton, this one woman show chronicles Jazz singer Lucy Bell’s meteoric rise to fame in the heart of a city that never sleeps. Cue New York skylines, jazz fuelled night clubs and heartbreak.
An instrumental element of the production was the impressive musical catalogue of Legendary Jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald, whose music was showcased by the protagonist of the piece, Lucy Bell (Jade Nanton). With renditions of such classics as ‘Summertime’, ‘The Lady is a Tramp’, ‘A-Tisket, A Tasket’, ‘I Got Rhythm’, to name but a few, it was accommodating to listen to such iconic numbers, as it created an air of familiarity. Cited as the Queen of Jazz, Ella was renowned for her effortless ability to combine scat singing with a powerful Jazz vocal, performing each song as if they were monologues. It were as if she lived every word, every verse of the song, however I felt the character of Lucy Bell presented the songs rather than emoting with the lyrics. The narrative comprised of Lucy Bell talking to the audience about aspects of her life, a continual monologue with moments of song. It was clear to see the parallel between Lucy Bell and her hero, Ella, due to both of their turbulent upbringings, however the narrative would have been more engaging if segments of the monologue were brought to life. A lovely idea, but with a narrative with no surprises, I give The Memoirs of Lucy Bell a 3/5.
The Memoirs of Lucy Bell Written and Directed by Hope Murphy Nanton.
Performed by Iron Leaf Productions.