Nina Kristofferson’s Holiday is a vibrant, rebellious personality who lives for her music, and who articulates her experiences of racism and drug addiction with no apologies. Kristofferson, who wrote this one woman show, gives a memorising performance using physical mannerisms and musical phrasing that captures the essence of her protagonist, rather than mimicking her. She has avoided the trap of simply portraying Holiday as a victim, and has created a full-rounded character that is able to bring her life experiences into her songs.
The piece showcases Kristofferson’s talents both as an actress and a singer, and she is particularly effective when performing emotionally charged numbers like “Don’t Explain” and “Strange Fruit”. When Holiday has a bad drugs trip, she gives a deeply distressing and disturbing version of “Love for Sale, a ‘tour de force’ in the show.
Musical director Allan Rodgers is also the pianist for the stunning five ‘cat’ jazz band, that faultlessly compliments ‘Lady Day’s’ performances. at the Charing Cross theatre until 25thMay.
Box office: 08444 930 650
Review by: OLIVER VALENTINE