|Pet is still an English rose at heart
Returning to the West End stage for the first time in 15 years, Petula seems anxious to prove that while London gave the world the girl, France and America have given us back a woman.
In Britain for the past two decades she has had to carry the image of little Pet, the local girl who made good. Now she wants to be seen to have grown up.
She comes out looking her sexiest in a gown with slit skirt and plunging neckline, and starts discussing her bust- "No sympathy please, a small thing but my own. There's no silicone in this act."
Then she goes into a Broadway musicals routine singing as Annie Oakley, the Sweet Charity floozie, and Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar.
Her dynamic interpretation "I Don't Know How to Love Him" wins the loudest applause of the night.
Most of her music is contemporary, upbeat and backed by four boy dancers and three girl singers, you can almost feel her emphasizing that this is a sophisticated lady returning home.
She receives a fine ovation at the end of her show and even does an extra number sitting on the stage.
Yet with a name like Petula and her slight, elfin figure, she still appears a young girl and presumably always will.
And like our other English rose, Julie Andrews, she stays obstinately Petula Clark from Surrey — no matter what the tempo, her costume, or the international veneer.
She has a beautifully lit and well-produced show, and with the intention of burying the past gets rid of her record hits at the start of the show.
Comedian Dick Shawn, who plays most of the first half, must be wondering if his journey was really necessary and how to change his material. Laugh? He thought they would never start.
Daily MailPet appeal wows the Palladium