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Music Review

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The Three Little Pigs
(Studio Cast Recording)


Music: George Stiles
Book and Lyrics: Anthony Drewe
Performed by: Gareth Gates, Alison Jiear, Clive Rowe, Amy Lennox and Lewis Barnshaw
SimG Records
Click here to buy
RRP: £12.99
Available 25 June 2012

You can only assume Stiles and Drew like animals. The british musical duo, responsible for (in my opinion) one of the best musicals of all time (Honk!) and one of the best british musicals in the last decade (Betty Blue Eyes) are firmly back in the farmyard for their latest creation, The Three Little Pigs.

With a score filled with trade-mark Stiles and Drewe tuneful melodies and crisp, witty lyrics, The Three Little Pigs was commissioned by the Singapore Repertory Theatre’s Little Company and played for 70 sell-out performances at their DBS Arts Centre in March 2012. It tells the story of its three eponymous heroes, Cha, Siu and Bao (named after the writers' favourite barbecued pork dim sum!), and their attempts to avoid being eaten by The Big Bad Wolf. After a spate of house building and much huffing and puffing, all of course ends happily ever after and along the way children of all ages from 3 to 93 can sit back and enjoy the delights of the show’s catchy score.

Whilst there isn't much story there (this will eventually form a trilogy with their next works of Goldilocks and The Three Bears and The Three Billy Goats Gruff), there certainly is a lot of music. There are 14 tracks on the release, the final two been demos of two of the numbers, and each is as original as the next. The cast is a mixed bag to be honest. Alison Jiear (Jerry Springer The Opera, On The Town) appears as the Piglets’ put-upon Mother who is “too old and tough to eat” and Olivier Award winner Clive Rowe (Kiss Me Kate, Guys and Dolls) features strongly as The Big, Bad but Misunderstood Wolf. Rowe is expert in his delivery, and is as captivating here as he was in Honk! Jiear delivers on every number.

Along side Amy Lennox and Lewis Barnshaw as the Three Little Pigs is, for me, the only error on the project, Gareth Gates. Whilst he doesn't do anything wrong, neither does he inspire or deliver quite as well as the others, and I would have liked to have seen another theatre new-comer on here instead of him.

Songwise, it's a varied mix of styles, but Stiles and Drewe's unique writing talent is evident throughout. My favourites are without doubt 'To Build a House' and 'A Real Pig Sty', but you can do nothing but admire the marriage of writing talent and performance perfection in 'A Bit Misunderstood' (which also features two owls).

A word of warning, don't start counting the puns... By any measure, this is another triumph from SimG - and I'm looking forward to the next instalment.


Ian Gude