by John Lombard
Remembering The Carpenters - The Q
Reviewed 18 February, closed
Nostalgia can be a sadness that brings us together. With their mix of American pie and hidden anguish, the Carpenters are the perfect subject for a tribute show.
Lisa Budin Price sings highlights from the Carpenter catalogue with a stirring contralto worthy of Karen Carpenter. Mandatory hits such as Superstar feature alongside surprise curios such as The Rainbow Connection.
While some tribute shows attempt to incarnate a performer, Price puts herself on equal footing with the audience as just another fan.
Centre stage belongs to the Carpenters themselves, present through a shrine of photographs. Throughout the show, a slideshow of Price’s tour bus pilgrimage to Richard Carpenter’s house loops. With the fascination of a true fan, she tells us that the doorbell chimes We've Only Just Begun.
Price acknowledges the demons of the Carpenters, but prefers to emphasise the redemptive rather than the lurid. Her anecdotes stress Richard’s formidable talent as an arranger and Karen’s joy in performing. She also tells how the Carpenters have touched her life, to the point of inspiring her to tour this tribute show for two decades.
An appreciative audience found communion in this gentle touch, happy to encounter the Carpenters vicariously through fond memory.
Unpretentious and devoted, Remembering the Carpenters is an invitation to relive music that has been enriched by the passing of time.