All You Ask of Me is a delightful trip through the standards of musical theatre that will leave you smiling from ear to ear, and bouncing along (if not singing along) to the myriad popular and beloved tunes from musical theatre history.
Conceived by the performers, Carly Graeme and Rowan Bakker, All You Ask of Me uses Graeme’s fantastic vocal versatility and natural stage presence to move through Golden Age showtunes to modern hits from jukebox musicals and everything in between, weaving them into an amusing ode to the entertainment industry based upon Graeme’s “reluctance” to sing the songs, as mentioned on the show’s poster.
It is this quite spectacular versatility of Carly Graeme’s that the show truly lives on. The range needed to effectively deliver every song in the show could cause many performers to fall short, but Graeme shines with her wonderful charm, expressive eyes, and comic timing to go with her lyrical voice. Indeed, the “Wheel of Impressions” style moment was a particular highlight, and left us wondering just how much more Graeme had that we didn’t even get to see!
Rowan Bakker’s accompaniment is predictably excellent, as we have come to expect from the South African theatre stalwart. His precise but emotional playing meant that not only were we engaged by Graeme’s performance, but by the music itself as well. Bakker also served as a great on-stage foil for Graeme, as their occasional banter provided fun moments for both of the performers to play off. Both performers were helped in this regard by Serena Steinhauer, who had some great moments as a mute assistant to the on-stage action.
All in all, producers Drew Bakker and Daphne Kuhn, director and light and sound designer Matt Counihan and the entire team of All You Ask of Me have put together a fantastic romp of a time that will leave you wanting more. Whether you like vapid ingénues, brassy dames, or rocker chicks, this show has something for you!
All You Ask of Me is on at the Auto & General Theatre on the Square from November 26 to November 30. Tickets are available from the box office and Computicket.