He Said. She Said. is all about the modern dating and relationship experience from a young person’s perspective. In some moments, it’s starkly realistic and really captures the spectrum of modern relationships, but as a cabaret, it’s far from perfect.
First thing’s first – Julian Kuo and Holly Summers-Clarke are exceptionally good singers. They both know how to interpret a song, sing the crap out of it and touch an audience by telling a story musically. If this show were a concert, I imagine not many people would leave disappointed.
Kuo has an impossibly delicate, smooth voice that simply floats above the music. But he also has enough grunt to really drive the more intense musical moments of all the songs he sings. Summers-Clarke has a gorgeous jazzy vibrato and a belt even more impressive than her figure in her teeny-tiny red dress. What’s really wonderful about the way they both sing is how effortless and natural everything sounds.
The strange thing is how confident both of them are in their songs, but how awkward the banter can be. Kuo absolutely shines with Scott Alan’s ‘Now’, truly capturing his character’s turmoil, but when the music stops, things become slightly uncomfortable. There’s a little humour in the linking dialogue, but really nothing to set it apart. Both Kuo and Summers-Clarke are great performers, but the writing just isn’t anything special.
Ultimately, the show belongs to the music, played beautifully by Chris King. The vocalists cover a lot of musical ground from modern musical theatre to pop to jazz standards. The musical highlight is without a doubt a poignant rendition of Alicia Keys’ ‘If I Ain’t Got You’ with Summers-Clarke taking the lead and turning on some serious soul. With Kuo providing gorgeous backing vocals and the two singing their hearts out, it’s a truly brilliant moment.
While the script might need more than a bit of work, there’s enough gorgeous music in He Said. She Said. to keep you on the edge of your seat and wanting to hear more at the end of an hour that seems to just fly by.