16 September 2019

Sunday at the Musicals - Haymarket Theatre

After a successful staging last November, Sunday at the Musicals returned to Leicester's Haymarket Theatre for another charity concert. Paul Burton's concert series brought the flavour of the best of the West End and Broadway to the heart of Leicester.

The charity concert was in aid of the local charity Loros. Loros is a hospice which supports terminally ill patients and their families. It's a fantastic cause and this theatrical celebration has hopefully raised a good sum for them.

The host for the evening was the always superb showbiz legend, Christopher Biggins. He is just at complete ease on stage, interacting well with the performers and the audience. Delivering a couple of wonderful anecdotes and showing a great passion for the performers and the shows that some of them are currently appearing it. 

Sinead Long opened the proceedings with a tremendous rendition of Love You I Do from Dreamgirls. Maria Kesselman, who played Christine opposite Michael Crawford, then performed a medley from The Phantom of the Opera. Darren Day suprised me with a great vocal performing both This is the Moment from Jekyll and Hyde and the title track from Sunset Boulevard

One of the night's major highlights was Tsemaye Bob-Egbe who gave two stunning performances, first (You Make Me Feel Like) a Natural Woman from Beautiful - The Carole King Story and followed River Deep Mountain High from Tina - The Tina Turner Musical. Tsemaye is the alternate Tina in the London production and what a powerhouse of a voice she has.

Charlotte Anne Steen performing. Photo by Beth Walsh.
Sarah-Louise Young's rendition of the title song from "La Cage Aux Folles" including a great bit of improvisation with a gentleman on the front row in his Marks and Spencer cardigan. Sarah also performed Could I Leave You from Follies. Charlotte Anne Steen followed with her beautiful vocal quality, performing Heaven Can Wait from Bat Out Of Hell and Maybe This Time from Cabaret. Louise Olley's followed with a great rendition of Backwards Barbie from 9 to 5 The Musical.

Alexandra Waite-Roberts delivered a spellbinding rendition of The Wizard and I from Wicked. Someone get her seen for Elphaba, she'd be so good in the role. Alexandra continued with Don't Rain on my Parade from Funny Girl. Again her vocals shined. We were then treated a couple of Les Mis alumni who have bright futures if the two performances are anything to go by, Grace Farrell performed Stars and the Moon from Songs For A New World (a song I'd not heard before but loved) and Hannah-Grace Lawson performed Right Hand Man from Something Rotten. Sinead Long returned to the stage with Gimme Gimme from Thoroughly Modern Millie

Ending the first half was the incredible Hugh Maynard. Hugh is a class act with such a gorgeous voice. A heartbreakingly powerful Not My Father's Son from Kinky Boots was followed by showstopping Bui-Doi from Miss Saigon

Opening the second act were the four-piece girl group, Ida. The four talented ladies sang a medley from Les Miserables. I particularly loved Jasmine's Faulkner's Stars. They're clearly an act on the rise, they are a group you should keep an eye out for. Following them went to Leicester's own Sam Bailey who sung Day of Plenty from Little Women. It was a shame to only get one song from Sam mind you, I'd have loved to hear something else too.

Alexandra Waite-Roberts performing. Photo by Beth Walsh.
Jennifer Tierney who is currently part of the London cast of Come From Away then performed two numbers. A beautiful version of So Big/So Small from Dear Evan Hansen and Me and the Sky from Come From Away. She's such a sensational performer. Identical twins Classical Reflection performed two numbers Pie Jesu and Somewhere Over The Rainbow from The Wizard of Oz. Maggie Lynne sang No-One But You from We Will Rock You superbly. Maggie also performed I Could Have Danced All Night from My Fair Lady. She has such an amazing vocal.

The tremendous Charlotte O'Rourke performed A Summer in Ohio from The Last Five Years, showing both her great vocals and comedic side. She also performed I Won't Send Roses from Mack and Mabel. Former Sugababe Amelle Berrabah followed with two fabulous performances Never Enough from The Greatest Showman and I Know Where I've Been from Hairspray.

Rounding off this night of amazing talent was Richard and Adam, the brothers are just a class act. Singing Somewhere from West Side Story and The Impossible Dream from Man of La Mancha. They deservedly got a rousing standing ovation from the audience. They have a tour coming up soon and I suspect they may have sold a few extra tickets last night. 

The night wouldn't have been possible without the excellent James Church who accompanied most of the acts at the piano. He was brilliant throughout. The lighting too was great, except for the times in the first act where they shone very bright lights in the audience which made it hard to see the performers (lots of people around me were saying this at the interval and they seemed to change it for the second act).

It was truly a tremendous night. As Biggins noted during the show, we need more shows like this. It was great to see so many performers who I'd not heard of before and leaving the theatre wanting to hear so much more from them. If you get a chance to catch any of the future Sunday at the Musicals which run at London's Phoenix Arts Club in London (https://www.paulburtonproductions.com/sunday-at-the-musicals) I highly recommend it. I'm looking forward to next years offering already!

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