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Wednesday, 1 October 2008
Laur's Hits of the West End review!!
Sorry this took so long to write, I’ve not been well! Boo to that! Julie, Kim and Jeanne have pretty much covered everything from Hits of The West End, but here’s my review anyway! And yes it’s like a million words long - I do like to ramble on a bit! =D …sorry!
I'm sure I said it in my Mathilde review, but watching Sarah perform live is actually amazing. She just has this incredible ability to draw you into any performance - her eyes just capture every emotion perfectly! Seriously, I'm convinced she could sing the contents of a dictionary to the tune of the Macarena and you'd still be mesmerised!! 'Hits of The West End' did not disappoint! It had such a variety of songs and not only did it showcase Sarah's talent and versatility, but the entire cast were magnificent!!
The show opened with a fantastic overture which was a medley of songs from musicals, including Oliver!, Wicked and ‘The Phantom of The Opera’. When the overture was over, the opening bars of ‘One Night Only’ from Dreamgirls played and on stepped The Lark in a sequined purple dress! She sounded incredible! An fantastic opening to a fantastic show!
The next number started off a trio of songs from Cabaret and also introduced the male lead vocalist, Niall Sheeny. He sang Wilkommen, which was very entertaining! It was a shame we didn‘t get to see him dance because of his injured foot, but hearing him sing was enough- what a voice! This led into an amazing rendition of Mein Heir, which was sung by the other lead female vocalist, Emma Kelly. And the dancing from the ensemble was great! Then, of course, The Lark took to the stage again with ‘Maybe This Time’. If you thought it was amazing on ‘I’d Do Anything’, it doesn’t even compare to seeing her sing it live! It was beautiful! (And kudos to her for walking down those stairs in those heels - eek!)
The dancing talents were shown off again in the next two numbers- All That Jazz (sung by Emma Kelly) and The Cell Block Tango from Chicago! Cell Block Tango was up there in my favourite performances of the show - the choreography was brilliant, with the chairs and everything! And the audience loved it!
Two songs from Joseph followed, where Niall was joined by a choir of children from a local school. He had exactly the right kind of voice for Joseph! This was followed by another Andrew Lloyd Webber classic, ‘Superstar’ from Jesus Christ Superstar, which was sung by the other male lead, Jamie McKillop! It was so full of energy! Made me want to dance!
One of my absolute favourite performances was Sarah singing ‘Good Morning Baltimore’ from Hairspray! Anyone who reads DS or anything will know the Larkabouts are pretty keen to see Sarah as Tracy Turnblad! Watching her sing that further convinced us that she’d suit the part to a tee! She has awesome comic timing and is a brilliant dancer! It was a fab performance from the entire cast - major kudos to Matthew Malthouse the choreographer! Another Hairspray song followed: Nicest Kids In Town, which was brilliant! I loved how they changed the role call so that they were saying there own names! And Jamie as Corny Collins was brilliant!
Niall then came on and sang ‘Music of The Night’ from Phantom- I absolutely loved it! It was followed by a series of songs from Les Miserables: ‘At The End of The Day, leading into Sarah singing ‘I Dreamed a Dream’. That’s one of my favourite songs from a musical ever, ever, ever, I was a *bit* excited when I heard she’d be singing it! It was actually incredible! It me tear up! Director Michael Martin then gave an outstanding performance of ‘Stars’ - such a good voice!!! And Emma Kelly gave a beautiful performance of ‘On My Own’, which was followed by another of my favourite ensemble performances - ‘One More Day’!
Sarah then gave another show stopping performance. This time it was of ‘As Long As He Needs Me’. Like Jeanne said in her review, watching her sing that it was almost as if she *was* Nancy! Of course I’m totally unbiased when I say I think Sarah’s version at Hits tops any of the Nancies’ ALAHNM from IDA… And it was a million times more exciting watching her sing it because it had been confirmed that Sarah’s going to be the first cover for Nancy in the West End! Woo!
The Grease medley that ended Act I was really fun! And the dancing was ace too! And Emma Kelly’s rendition of ‘Hopelessly Devoted To You’ was one of the show’s highlights!
Act II started with the wee kids back on stage singing ‘Santa Evita‘! The ensemble then performed ‘Money Kept Rollin’ In’, which has been stuck in my head since last Thursday! It was ace! Sarah then returned to the stage in the most gorgeous dress eveeerrr to sing ‘Don’t Cry For Me Argentina’. It made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end! Is there anything this lady can’t sing!?
We then got some tunes from Dirty Dancing! The first was ‘Yes’ performed by Emma and the female ensemble members! Then Jamie performed Hungry Eyes, which I loved! Sarah and Niall then took to the stage with ‘Time of My Life’ and the Larkabouts went a bit mental! But we got a wee thumbs up, which was ace! Haha! And the dancers in this were FAB!
Wicked, my favourite musical, was the next show we heard songs from. First Emma and Jamie gave a beautiful performance of ‘As Long as You’re Mine’. This was followed by the performance I’d been most looking forward to: ‘Popular’! Sarah was hilarious! She totally became the character of Galinda! Everyone in the audience was laughing along and it definitely got one of the biggest cheers of the evening! Sarah absolutely neeeeds to play Galinda in the West End! Emma then returned to the stage and gave another show stopping performance of Defying Gravity! Definitely her best performance!
We then got a spot of cockney from Niall as the ensemble returned to the stage to sing ‘Step in Time’ from Mary Poppins! Once again the choreography was incredible
The performance of the evening came next. Sarah came onto the stage and began to sing ‘Tell Me It’s Not True’ from Blood Brothers. We’d heard her sing this in her audition clip for IDA but hearing it live was a million times better. It was one of those performances that actually takes your breath away! She was joined by the ensemble near the end, and everyone put so much emotion and power into it that it was just… wow!!
A slightly more light hearted few songs followed as we were treated to ‘I Want To Break Free’, ‘Radio Ga Ga’ and ‘We Are The Champions’ from We Will Rock You. ‘I Want To Break Free’ was my favourite of Niall’s performances, and ‘Radio Ga Ga’ needs an honourable mention for best choreography of the show! Made me excited for going to see WWRY in January!
Finally the cast performed some songs from Mamma Mia - Sarah giving a fantastic performance of ‘The Winner Takes It All (Meryl Streep, eat your heart out =P), and the ensemble joining in for Dancing Queen, Mama Mia and finally Waterloo- to which the cast took their bows! Of course we gave Sarah a standing ovation!
We had the pleasure of meeting her on both Thursday and Friday, she really is a complete star! We were also lucky enough to meet her family, who were absolutely lovely! =)