Reviewed by Michaela Clement Hayes
Cast your minds back to April 1915, the year that Billie Holiday was born. Life was very different for everyone then, especially a girl who seemed to find trouble wherever she looked.
My dad used to listen to Billie Holiday when I was younger, but I didn’t know her songs well. However, they have the sultry style that stirs you, even if you’re not into jazz or blues.
Nina Kristofferson (the writer and star of the show) has managed to take the life and songs of Billie Holiday and combine them into a performance that is as moving, as it is magical.
Kristofferson’s voice is powerful, capturing the emotion and feeling that is synonymous with Billie Holiday songs, whilst the interwoven story manages to grip you in a way that others might not.
This woeful biography is portrayed in a graphic way, with tales of rape, poverty and pimps, plus some realistic enactments of drug use. It doesn’t feel forced though, with her songs and monologue flowing nicely together against the background music.
The brilliant band who accompany her are characters, particularly MD Allan Rogers, who provided us all with comical expressions as he played the keyboards and let us know when to clap!
Overall it was a really enjoyable evening: unique and inspiring.
The Billie Holiday Story plays at London’s Charing Cross Theatre until 25th May 2013.
Click here to buy tickets from only £17.50!