• Name: Sarah Lark
  • Age: 25
  • D.O.B : 28/01/83

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Jeanne's Review of Hits of the West End!!

Just want to thank her so much for this review - Who went on Monday. I also went last night but im going on Thursday again so I am going to hold off my review but I will just say Sarah Lark is a STAR.

Here is Jeanne's review...

So, thanks to Glasgow being not the easiest place to navigate (I got lost twice); the guy not being at the reception desk in the hotel (so it took me 20 minutes to get booked in); & then getting the wrong door 1st time (it’s the glass doors at the side, not the main entrance) I ended up missing the first ten minutes of the show. I ran up the stairs and walked in, and there she was… Sarah Lark, dressed all in white, centre stage, rocking it up. I barely paid attention to the nice lady who was showing me to my seat, & I was so mesmerised by Sarah that I didn’t register what song it was (I think it might have been One Night Only).
Finally settled in my seat (front row of the gallery, sandwiched between 2 groups of old women), I had a good look around the hall. It’s a small, intimate venue, so even sat up in the gallery you can clearly see the stage, set out with a central staircase up to a little balcony. It was about 2/3 full, & I think the audience was mostly the families of the kids in the show (plus a large amount of OAPs).

Anyway, back to the show. There were a couple of group songs from Cabaret (Willkommen & possibly another one) then the lights faded and the spotlight drew the audiences attention to the balcony, there stood Sarah Lark, whose mic wasn’t working, unfortunately, but her voice carried well enough without it to be able to recognise Maybe This Time… It didn’t take long for someone to hand her a handheld mic and we could finally hear her properly. She made her way down the stairs onto the stage to sing the rest of the song. Her performance wasn’t as powerful as when she sang it on IDA, but it was absolutely beautiful & note perfect (which goes without saying really, & was the case with all of her performances). And she really is so small, the stage isn’t all that big and much as she does completely own every inch of the stage, she seemed ever so small stood there on her own.
There was another song, but I don’t remember what, All That Jazz, possibly, I’m assuming it was a Chicago song, ‘cos the next female group song was Cell Block Tango… Sarah had ‘Annie’s part, lamenting (with endearing, wicked humour) about her ‘single’ Mormon husband who had 6 wives. The performance involved a rather complicated dance with chairs, Sarah slipped at one point but she recovered so gracefully & seamlessly that it looked as though it was part of the routine. I must admit, I was a bit worried about her being up on the chairs - especially after her little slip - they were quite high & spaced quite far apart and she’s only got little legs.

The male ensemble did a little song or maybe this was where Jesus Christ Superstar fit in…. if it was, I wasn’t impressed with the guy who sang it.
Then Sarah appeared, with her hair in bunches, looking truly adorable, stood behind a makeshift ‘quilt’ for Good Morning Baltimore. By the chorus, we find out why she has such a radiant grin, as the quilt is moved aside to reveal 4 men hiding behind there. It was clear that Sarah was absolutely in her element with this song, & the group song of You Can’t Stop The Beat (I think) which followed. This was Sarah at her absolute bubbly, happy, confident best, and the dance routine was amazing – that girl can really move! I am now convinced that she would be amazing in Hairspray, & I believe that she would thoroughly enjoy every second if she was in it too.
Now my memory fails me, I think once the Hairspray songs were finished, the children came on stage for Any Dream Will Do & Close Every Door from Joseph. I could be completely muddled though, I don’t remember where the Joseph songs came at all.
Sarah’s next song wasn’t one that I recognised, a soft, simple ballad, something about dreaming a dream, possibly. Whatever it was, it was absolutely beautiful and almost made me cry. Another song (or was it 2, I forget) that I didn’t recognise, probably from the same musical as the dreaming a dream song, but I honestly couldn’t tell you what they were.

There may have been more, or maybe this was where the Joseph songs fit in, but Sarah’s next solo was As Long As He Needs Me. She was wearing the red dress that she wore in the Wicked mission & every inch of her, from head to toe, just screamed ‘Nancy’. Again, her performance was not as intense as on IDA, but that’s probably ‘cos it wasn’t such an emotional moment. And I don’t know whether the orchestra was too fast, or what it was, but she seemed to be rushing through it… No long notes, barely a pause to breathe, but beautiful & emotional none the less. It truly tugged at my heartstrings and I feel honoured & proud to be able to say that I have seen Sarah Lark perform all of ALAHNM live on stage – even if she doesn’t get a chance to be in Oliver, for those few minutes, I got to see her as Nancy.
The first half of the show closed with a little medley of songs from Grease, starting with Greased Lightening, then into You’re The One That I Want, which Sarah joined, again, looking as if she was completely in her element; immersed in the mood & character of the song.

After the interval, the show re-opened, with the children again, and some big group songs from Evita…. Now, I only know 3 songs from Evita, & they weren’t those, so I don’t know what they were. Sarah’s absence in these group song seemed wrong somehow, the whole ensemble (including the kids) were ‘reunited’ to re-open the show, and Sarah wasn’t amongst them. However, I knew that it meant another solo was coming up. Everyone left the stage, and there she was, up on the balcony, in the most beautiful ball gown, looking every bit like a Disney princess (in a really good way, a classy, breath-takingly beautiful Disney princess). She managed to tackle one step on the stairs, but the skirt was so big that if she’d tried the whole staircase, she might just have fallen. So, from the top step, she gave a heart-wrenching rendition of Don’t Cry For Me Argentina.

There were (possibly) one or two more songs, before one of the other female singers did a great job of Defying Gravity, and as she was leaving the stage, we saw (for the first & only time in the show) a little hint of acting as Sarah ‘accidentally’ bumps into her with a chair, and we hear how brilliant Popular would be, if Sarah were in Wicked! & it would, indeed, be wicked… Sarah has a humbleness about her that belies the lyrics of the song, and gave it a rather hilarious, endearing charm, and I was grinning and laughing through the whole performance. It was, by far, my most favourite performance of the whole night, & I would give an arm & a leg to see her in Wicked.

Another group song, maybe just the men but I don’t remember (my memory is so bad), and then a duet. Sarah stood at one side of the stage, the lead male stood at the opposite side, with the rest of the performers doing some wonderful dancing, as Sarah & the guy sang The Time Of My Life beautifully. & they even had a little kiss at the end…. Aww, how sweet.

Sarah’s next song (honestly, I’m gonna stop trying to tell you what happened between Sarah’s songs, ‘cos I just do not remember) was Tell Me It’s Not True…. & her audition video did not do justice to how wonderfully Sarah sings that song. The song started as a solo, then one by one the rest joined her as ‘backing’ singers. Even with every voice singing, it was Sarah’s that could be heard resonating above the rest. That was true in every group song that Sarah participated in, her voice carried loud & strong above everyone else.

There was a We Will Rock You medley next, which finally, got the audience participating with some clapping going on.
And from Queen, to Abba, with Sarah singing The Winner Takes It All…. Again, her mic wasn’t working, & again, her voice carried well enough without it to be able to identify the song. A young man brought her out a handheld mic, and it seemed to take her a second to realise that she needed to sing into it – lol. I’m sure there was another Mamma Mia! song, it may have been Mamma Mia… I forgot. The show ended with everyone back on stage for Dancing Queen, with Sarah, the 2 main male singers & the other main female singer doing a quartet of sorts. And there was some brilliant dancing going on too.

Everyone took a bow, one by one, with Sarah last… looking a bit lost & humble - not quite used to being the ‘star’ just yet - and almost desperate to get everyone else to join her from where they were stood at the sides of the stage. So she beckoned them all to join her, much as she did to the Olivers in Together Wherever We Go, and the took a bow together then danced happily off the stage to rapturous applause.

All in all, an amazing show, even with the sound problems they seemed to be having throughout the night. I’m a little disappointed that Sarah didn’t get to sing with the kids, since she has such a natural, easy rapport with children. But, it was definitely worth the 7 hours of train rides & the getting lost in Glasgow, and it has definitely made me even more desperate (if that’s even possible) to see Sarah where she belongs; shining brightly as a leading lady in the West End.

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Julie said...

Love the review! Sarah was simply outstanding!xx.

Laur... said...

Wow, that review was amazing!! Thanks Jeanne! waaaay too excited now!

Was the song about dreaming a dream possibly "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Mis? Because if it is I will actually weep! Lol!

Jeanne said...

thanks for posting this Julie x

& Laur, yes it was I Dreamed A Dream - I'm not familiar with Les Mis, but I managed to remember enough of the lyrics to look it up

David said...

Great review Jeanne. It sounds as if Sarah's wonderful talent is more suited to the West End than Scotland. Let's hope someone in the audience is taking note.