Review: Songs from the American Motel, Leicester Square **

We walk in to a cramped set. It is a mixture of beer cans, instruments, red lamps, microphones and an unmade bed. This is the scene in which Ezra Axelrod has chosen to showcase his music. One cannot deny that it is apt for its purpose. It reflects the idea of a seedy American Motel room and highlights the ‘red light’ district, which Axelrod later tells us he is fascinated by.

The quality of the music, and the vocal and instrumental performances by the ensemble, are good. There is a problem though; the volume and timbre of the accompaniment is too fierce. We cannot hear the lyrics. It is therefore, extremely hard to understand the message (if any) Axelrod is trying to convey in his music.

It is only later in the programme, during some of the slower, ballad-type songs, when the background noise is softened, that we can truly hear the words, and almost start to be moved.

Axelrod is as open and honest as a man could be with his audience

The short moments of story telling/stand-up scattered throughout, are relatively interesting but not gripping. His conversations with the audience do become easier towards the end of the piece but it is too late.

Axelrod is as open and honest as a man could be with his audience but there is no clear drive, purpose or message to this showcase.

** (2 stars)
Runs until 3rd March
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