As a stalwart of the Broadway stage, Bernadette Peters knows how to start with a bang. Following an overture from her 11-piece band, she struts out from the wings and sums up the entire show with her opening number: Let Me Entertain You from Gypsy.
Bernadette Peters | Rating: ***** |E dinburgh Playhouse
Despite looking half her 68 years, Peters has spent so long crafting her art, we instantly feel in safe hands. Not only is each song delivered with an emotional maturity that hits you square in the heart, but banter trips off her tongue as if she’s chatting with friends round the lunch table.
The set list, as expected, goes heavy on musical theatre – and Stephen Sondheim in particular. Highlighting the composer’s genius, as well as her own versatility, with the tender sadness of Send in the Clowns and the visceral intensity of Losing My Mind from Follies.
Although more than capable of reducing her audience to tears, tonight was more about making us laugh. Not just with witty repartee, but through sassy touches to songs such as There is Nothing like a Dame or climbing seductively on to the grand piano to deliver Peggy Lee’s Fever.
All the while the band – led by musical director and long-time collaborator Marvin Laird – matched Peters in class, style and technique.
Dressed in a mauve cocktail dress and high heels, Peters looked as good as she sounded. Although not one of the hundreds of sequins which adorned her gown shone quite as brightly as she did.