As Judy Garland’s daughter Lorna Luft’s unmistakable voice fills the Crazy Coqs, there is no doubt that the star has arrived. In this intimate cabaret setting her presence sparkles, raining star dust on the audience as she cuts through the crowd to the stage.
Luft is playing at the Crazy Coqs with her solo show Accentuate the Positive and never has there been a show that stays so true to its title. Unlike her famous sibling Liza Minnelli there is no darkness in her voice. Sure she belts out the numbers with flair but there is an air of positivity that radiates throughout the entirety of the show which is laced with humour and a sprinkling of sentimentality but mostly there is a strong sense of celebration.
Luft dedicates part of the show to the masterful Jewish songwriter, lyricist and singer Johnny Mercer; this is her love letter to him. She races through medleys from the great American song book with speed and levity, no sooner has your foot started tapping in time to Too Marvellous then she switches to Make Someone Happy, her variety and virtuosity is phenomenal.
It would seem churlish to start comparing her to her legendary mother but it is impossible not to. The vibrato in Luft’s voice is too familiar, as is that glint in her eye and the way she works the stage. In a poignant moment where footage from The Judy Garland Show is projected of Garland singing Lorna (a song Mercer wrote especially) to her daughter, it is evident that Luft has accepted her legacy.
Accentuate the Positive is a show bursting with spirit and yet there is a real comfort in hearing treasures such as Moonriver and Something’s Got to Give. Luft shines with What Did I Have That I Don’t Have Now, her voice almost too big for a cabaret venue, but what a treat to be witness to such talent.