November 1, 1966
"Petula is a Pixie with a Delicious Act" by William Rice
There's more than just a touch of magic about Petula Clark. A charming pixie with a fountain of blonde hair that insists on cascading over her forehead, she pops on stage at the Shoreham's Blue Room and gently but completely captivates her audience.
From dress to face to the complete Petula, she is pink and pale and very pretty. She stands on stage, small and even a little wistful. Then Frank Owens, her talented pianist-conductor, motions the orchestra to life and Petula reacts like the lamest of thoroughbreds at the sound of a hunting horn. She radiates such complete confidence, such verve, that she can even turn her back for several moments, in the manner of the matador, without causing the least distraction.
But this is a confidence untainted by cockiness. She swings, not kinky, but with a wonderful beat and infectious touches of humor. Hers is a happy act and it leaves one with a pleasant afterglow.
Her songs, naturally, include "Downtown" and the marvelously rhythmic "I Couldn't Live Without Your Love." But she can give a distinctive reading of ballads such as "Our Love Is Here to Stay" and "Come Rain or Come Shine," and even wipe the cotton-candy triteness away from "Dear Hearts and Gentle People."
On opening night, there were some awkward moments, perhaps from nervousness at the beginning of the act when her gestures seemed stilted and artificial, and she took on the wrong Beatles song in "I Want to Hold Your Hand." It just didn't work as a small ballad. But these were only the smallest of dents in a whipped cream topping. The act beneath is as lovely and delicious as a superb strawberry pie. That Miss Clark will be here only tonight and Saturday is nothing short of criminal. I hope she will return.