Before going to see Falling in Love Again, I had no idea who Marlene Dietrich was. I left the show only a little wiser on the subject but feeling contentedly entertained. Jennifer Ward-Lealand kept the audience mesmerised throughout the hour and a half, impersonating Dietrich with great accuracy (according to those who do know of the 1920’s-70’s singer/actress). With Aaron Coddel on double bass and pianist Grant Winterburn accompanying her, Ward-Lealand sang us through the evening with style and playful elegance.
The entire show imitated one of her basic cabaret setups with the musicians and a large vase of roses to the side. Ward-Lealand wore a recreation of one of Dietrich’s beautiful gowns along with an extravagant white fur coat. She took us through various songs of her career of stage and screen, explaining a little about them with a well mastered German accent. What I found most impressive was her ability to keep the entire room entranced with the little flickers of her eyes and sultry smirk, something that Dietrich was well known for.
The only song I recognised was “I Get a Kick Out of You” but found myself amused by songs such as “Makin’ Whoopee” and “See What the Boys in the Back Room Will Have”. There were also a few songs in German which she managed to convey the meaning of through her expression and tone.
Judging by the reaction of the mostly 50 plus crowd, Ward-Lealand pulled this one off very well, as she so often does in her roles. The musicians were amazing in their own rights. It turns out Marlene Dietrich is someone worth knowing about.
Featuring Jennifer Ward-Lealand,
Grant Winterburn, Aaron Coddel
Downstage, July 27 – August 4