Evening News
Tuesday, November 9, 1976

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 Mail
The Big First Night

Pet appeal wows the Palladium

PETULA CLARK may have acquired an elegant chic in her long exile across the Channel, but her return to the London Palladium proves that basically she is still as English as the rose, and occasionally quite as barbed.

Yet there is somthing dewily refreshing about her act. Who could resist a star who unloads her three biggest hits at the outset, and then goes on to tackle a medley of show-stoppers from shows stopped by such ladies as Ethel Merman and Shirley McLaine.

The effect is rather like an audition at this point. But on audience appeal I would give Miss Clark any part she asked for.

In a heady array of costume changes, each designed to show off her spectacularly trim Peter Pan figure, she parades a dangerous blend of sophisticated belting offset by a Roedean schoolgirl's sense of the ridiculous.

The voice does not surrender to raucous gimmicks, as once it did; instead she confidently decorates expected notes with wit and no small subtlety.

Had she been more hardheaded she would also have dispensed with the services of Dick Shawn and done the comedy spot herself, as she clearly could.