A Musical Dream

By Sheridan Morley
International Herald Tribune
15 November 2000

It is unclear why the James Joyce estate has objected so violently to "Molly Bloom" at Jermyn Street, especially as copyright is no longer the issue, since Joyce died more than 50 years ago. What we have, down from the Edinburgh Festival, is an intriguing 90-minute song cycle written and performed by the singer Anna Zapparoli and her husband, the songwriter pianist Mario Borciani.

They have developed Molly Bloom's soliloquy in songs that range from Irish anthems to cabaret numbers, many influenced by a weird combination of Kurt Weill and William Walton in his "Façade" mood. You need to be something of a Joyce addict to work out precisely what is going on in some of these, but Zapparoli has a fine, louche manner, stretched out across the piano in her nightdress, and (like Richard Nelson's recent hit off-Broadway with "The Dead") the suggestion is that maybe Joyce, who always wanted to be a singer, should have turned to stage musicals himself.

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