South Shore Room auditors who board the entertainment bus driven by Petula Clark find they're taken well past the "Downtown" stop to a polished, professional destination. The English lass, whose voice once captivated the below-20 record set, has now developed a charm and bounce endearing to poshery groups. Seemingly the anti-star, she cavorts as if a child entertaining at her parents' dinner party, making guests laugh, cry or admire and, supposedly unwittingly, grasping small portions of their love.
Glamorous in flowing orange, she's the chanteuse with "This Is My Song," the torcher with "Fool on the Hill," the cute clown with a My Fair Lady medley, and a tiny, shy waif as the headliner who gratefully acknowledges her semistanding ovation.
Miss Clark is in constant motion, pacing militarily from one end of the large stage to another as she warbles with a pleasant, controlled throat adaptable to both a rocky "I Know a Place" and a pleading "Glocca Morra." A vigor that occasionally threatens to throw her from the platform is contagious, her fun obvious. Her diction is distinct and is lilting with a solo piano backing of "Long and Winding Road."
She knowingly mingles standard club fare with her applause-drawing remembrances, but even those have been recharted for maximum effectiveness. Almost oblivious to those charts, Miss Clark recites her stories without any reliance on musical director Frank Owens and Brian Famon's orchestra, realizing a cappella might be just as delightful. But some added effects still serve as assets, an echoed mike emphasizing a few of the Clark vocal peculiarities, and lighting calling attention to a few of her moods.
An experienced driver, she knows all the traffic signs, violates hardly any rules, and allows her passengers to disembark only after they've seen not only the downtown area but the complete city.