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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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