FringeReview UK 2017
Following the success of Nicky’s ‘Empty Nest’ at The Pheasantry, she to returns with her new show ‘Hooray For Love’. a musical celebration of our universal quest for love. From childhood crush to lasting romance, she takes us on a musical journey through the highs and lows of finding love.
HOORAY FOR LOVE Nicky Gaynor, The Pheasantry in Chelsea
Nicky Gaynor knows her audience and she gives them exactly what they want to hear: a confirmation that love is the goal, love is the answer and love is the reason life is worth living. How could there possibly be anything better?
She appears on stage, a lovely blond bombshell of a woman, dressed in red, Cupid’s color, and presents her musical valentine to us all with her first song: “Where In The World Is My Prince?” by Jerry Herman. Her pianist is 22 year old Tom Barnes and he is integral to this two act performance, as a foil to her comments and joining in two of the songs. Gaynor takes us on a sugar sweet journey from her first crush to her final and best love. The lows are not that low and the highs are delicious just like in those marvelous Fifties musicals. One can almost hear the violins in the background; roses are in bloom; the birds join in the chorus. Springtime is in the air on this brisk November evening at The Pheasantry in Chelsea.
Nicky Gaynor was eleven when she had her first crush (“Crush” by Victoria Woods) but she had to wait until high school for an authentic romance. She sparks the memories of this older, conservative audience when she reminds us all that we telephoned each other on landlines back in her day and everyone in the family could hear the conversation. And so her saga continues with “Tonight at Eight” by Jerry Bock & Sheldon Harnick.
As we travel with her on her first real date to the second when things became a bit more intense, she sings “Honey, Touch Me With My Clothes On,” by Gilda Radner, to remind us that we weren’t as free and open then as we are today. No Tinder. No sexting.
The show’s musical story line, fragile as it is, tells that each relationship helped her grow and learn how to become the woman she is today. We hear “You’ve Got Possibilities” by Charles Strouse & Lee Adams sung with her versatile pianist. We feel her tension waiting for the next love to appear as she eats all the breadsticks on the table waiting for him to appear. She reminds us of how easy it is to lose that wonderful shape that is so essential to attracting the right guy to love you with “Dieter’s Prayer” by Amanda McBroom.
The one thing about being young and in love is that you are endlessly optimistic. Who knows? The next date might be the one. We hear all about it in “I Will Be Loved Tonight,” by Jimmy Roberts & Joe Di Pietro, followed by “Good Thing He Can’t Read My Mind,” by Christine Lavin to end the first act.
Gaynor returns wearing a bathrobe carrying Cadbury Chocolate and she sheds the robe to finish the show in a romantic black dress. The song to open the act is “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again,” by Burt Bacharach & Hal David followed by “Goodbye to Love”, by Richard Carpenter & John Bettis. She is still on her quest to find herself and someone who loves what she is, but there are many frustrations and a few cute little twists. She concludes that men want someone like her dog. (“Like My Dog”, by Billie Currington). The next number is an observation about the difference in temperament and outlook of each nationality. (“An Englishman Needs Time” by Anne de Nys & Michael Treford). She meets her Englishman and she gives him the time he needs, but sadly he is only a stepping stone to her final choice. The remainder of the act chronicles a series of musical ups and downs. We learn all Gaynor’s failed romances were because “I wasn’t really being myself with him. I was being what he wanted me to be. “
LIfe goes on; we live and learn. At last, Nicky Gaynor finds the guy she is with today. … a perfect match described for us in “Hooray for Love,” by Harold Arlen & Leo Robin, then “All You Need is Love” by John Lennon & Paul McCartney and “I’m a Believer”, by Neil Diamond.
The show is cotton candy, easy to digest without too many ups or down and very few surprises. Gaynor has good pace and energy; her voice is pleasant and easy to listen to. She paints a picture we all wish were true, one that is a reality for no one. Her disappointments and bruised heart is glossed over in the glory of finally giving us the happily ever after we want. Our hearts swell and the more sentimental shed a tear or two. How fortunate our star is to have climbed the mountain and found her rainbow. That is exactly the way it should be. Isn’t it?