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A question of art: with singer/actress Kim Criswellnger

Kim Criswell

The singer describes Sting as 'fun, adventurous and warm' while also expressing a love for the writing of Wally Lamb.

FAVOURITE SINGER?

One of them is Sting. I had the extreme good fortune to appear with him in a revival of The Threepenny Opera on Broadway in 1989 (he played Mack the Knife; I played Lucy Brown), and found him to be fun, adventurous, warm, a team player, and an excellent musician. He was also a surprisingly good actor, a natural stage animal, and I was delighted to find out how very funny he is, too.

FAVOURITE MUSICAL PIECE?

One that always brings a tear to my eye, for sheer beauty alone is Samuel Barber's 'Adagio For Strings'. I'll never forget hearing it played as a last-minute substitution during the Last Night of the Proms concert in 2001, just after the atrocities of 9/11. I have never heard any piece of music so perfectly sum up the sorrow and grief that people across the world were feeling at that time.

BEST STAGE PRODUCTION?

One would have to be A Chorus Line, in a very special performance. When the show was getting ready to break the longest-running production record on Broadway, a gala performance was planned, with literally hundreds of cast members from various productions of the show on stage at the same time. It was a one-off performance, so to be in that room for that event was electric.

FAVOURITE WRITER?

Wally Lamb - he's male, but has such a beautiful knack of capturing the female psyche in print, and he's never disappointed me. His first book She's Come Undone was featured on Oprah's Book Club, years after I read it, and he finally got the attention he deserved.

LAST BOOK YOU LOVED?

I have a friend of many years called Peggy Riley, who has recently had a big success with her first novel, Amity And Sorrow. It's a fascinating read, beautifully written - it takes the reader into the world of an American religious cult/commune, and the women (sister/wives and daughters) who inhabit and escape from it. It's chilling, heartbreaking, and so illuminating.

CULTURAL BLINDSPOT?

I really don't see the point of anything avant-garde enough to be more enjoyable to the performers than it is to the audience. This defeats the purpose of entertainment for me. I'm not a fan of the directorial fad that insists that every piece be re-invented in order to put his/her fingerprints on it.

Kim Criswell and Matthew Ford join John Wilson and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra for Strike Up The Band: The Gershwins In Hollywood on February 18 at the National Concert Hall. See www.nch.ie.

Indo Review