UPDATE : I’m making fun a ‘little’ bit… but I also sincerely think she’s fantastic.
Sarah Brightman is one of my showbiz obsessions.
For a start she looks as if she had a conventional upbringing in a nice part of the Home Counties. I could imagine her with a pony, or learning ballet or the violin. Just like in ‘The Bunty’.
Then she joined the risqué disco dance group ‘Hot Gossip’ and had a mega-pop hit with ‘I fell in Love With A Starship Trooper’. She lived in London – had a short, glam, brief early marriage – and probably lived in a flat with a peacock chair and a Macrame pot plant holder hanging from the ceiling. Thus her teen years were inspirational.
Next – she’s cast in the musical ‘Cats’ and some other musical that Andrew Lloyd Webber went to see forcing him to exclaim ‘she was in Cats for a year and I didn’t notice her!’ before immediately falling in love and writing ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ for her and Frank Spencer. Phantom was a giant global monster and Sarah furthered the Victorian Sloane Ranger look first championed by Princess Diana and the heroines of Dame Barbara Cartland. Tragically the glory that was Gemma Craven in ‘The Slipper and the Rose’ was eclipsed until Gemma won a memorable cameo in an episode of ‘Father Ted’.
In the 90s Sarah divorced Andrew and became a recording artist. After a short flirtation with folk rock she teamed up with German producer Frank Peterson of ‘Enigma’ fame and created a series of themed Operatic crossover albums with titles like ‘Dive’, ‘Fly’, ‘Eden’, ‘La Luna’ and ‘Harem’ at the same time playing to billions at events like the Olympics and as a spokesperson for huge brands like Panasonic, taking herself from local girl, to British icon to living embodiment of a screen saver in less than two decades.
There have been flaws.
Hot gossip danced as if their choreographer had died in a freak gym accident and with her dying breath had said ‘just pick up my tiny hand-weights and wiggle’. Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals were exactly like Ken Russell musicals but with all the sex, satire and decent music removed. And Sarah herself often looked and sounded like an innocent chipmunk scared into emitting a series of random high notes before joyfully discovering that her tormentor was a friend all along.
The flaws, however, can never outshine the triumphs.