Lea Salonga returns to London!
Date: 21/07/2019
Rating: ★★★★

The International musical theatre star: Lea Salonga, concluded her sold out tour at the world famous London Palladium yesterday. for not just one but two shows. Wowing with an impressive 17 song setlist, filled with much loved classics and some wonderful surprises, it was a concert that we’re glad we didn’t miss. As the crowds flooded into the auditorium, the excitement was undeniable as her die-hard fans awaited the moment for the house lights to drop. Greeted on stage with an ongoing round of applause I haven’t done anything to deserve that yet“, she says as the first notes of ‘Feeling Good’ start to play.

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Luke Hughes (luke.views)

Salonga has had an incredible steady career spanning over forty years in the business. She’s most known for the singing voice of both Jasmine (Aladdin) and Fa Mulan (Mulan) as well has her Broadway and West End credits for both originating the role of Kim in Miss Saigon, whilst also being the first asian descent to play both Fantine and Éponine in Les Misérables. Although no stranger to performing, she didn’t hide the fact that she was “freaking out to play the Palladium“, easily one of the most iconic venues in the UK. Salonga was originally scheduled to perform back in June but due to an injury had to post-pone, joking that she was happy to be visiting the UK during the summer months instead and that she was “thrilled to have London as the end date for the tour“.

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Luke Hughes (luke.views)

What was so special about the show was how relaxed she felt with the audience making it feel as though she was in a room with her closest friends. Her charm, wit and warming personality shone through and there wasn’t a moment where you felt she was disconnected. Her setlist was the perfect combination of what you’d expect her to sing vs some real surprises, in the form of One Directions “Story of my Life”, which her Brother had suggested was perfect for her voice.

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Sophie Ross (TheTheatreHub)

During act 2, Salonga asked for a member of the audience to join her on stage for a duet of “A Whole New World” and luckily for her, her chosen duet partner was a great singer. “Thank you for keeping up the reputation that all people from the Philippines can sing“, she said.

Throughout the entirety of the show, Salonga displayed a real genuine strength and power in her vocals, a voice that truly hasn’t changed since she began her professional career at 17. It’s a real joy to see that after all the time in the biz, she can still sell out venues such as the Palladium, as this show, was one that deserved to be seen.

P.s West End producers: It’s time to get Lea back into a West End show.

Reviewed by Emily March
6th May 2018
Reviewer rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ 

There was certainly magic in the room at Sunday night’s West End Does: The Magic of Animation concert at Cadogan Hall. Featuring a star-studded line up of the West End’s brightest leading ladies and gents. Filled with a set-list of old and new songs from our favourite animated movies, from Mulan to Moana, it certainly did not disappoint.

After a stunning Disney overture by the choir and orchestra, led by the charismatic Alex Parker, who seemed to be enjoying the marvellous array of music throughout the night, the wonderful Celinde Schoenmaker(Les Miserables), Eva Noblezada(Miss Saigon) and Danielle Hope(The Wizard of Oz) entered the stage in gorgeous gowns to sing an earth-shattering and perfectly harmonised mash-up of Just Around the Riverbend and Colours of the Wind from Disney’s Pocahontas.

British favourite Christopher Biggins took to the stage as our host for the evening, equip with funny one-liners, he got the room laughing and in good spirit for the concert ahead. Celinde Schoenmaker returned to the stage for a couple of Tangled tunes; a fun performance of When Will My Life Begin, which picked up the tempo in a room which was followed by a beautiful cover of Tangled favourite, I See the Light, where she was joined on stage by Fra Fee(The Ferryman). Celinde looked and sounded beautiful on stage and made the audience question if she actually was the real Rapunzel.

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© Danny Kaan

Eva Noblezada was the highlight of the night for me. Her moving cover of Reflection was incredible, showing off her rich tones and sensational vocal technique, and seemed apt after Noblezada followed in Lea Salonga’s footsteps as Kim in Miss Saigon. She also sang How Far I’ll Go during the concert’s Moana section, with some slick riffs, it definitely impressed the audience and proved that she has a very special talent. Moana on Broadway perhaps?

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© Danny Kaan

Other highlights include Marisha Wallace’s (Dreamgirls) upbeat performance of Zero to Hero from Hercules, which blew the roof of Cadogan Hall and received the biggest applause of the night. The gospel number got everyone dancing and clapping in their seats. What a voice! Although an overdone concert duet, Wicked alumni, Rachel Tucker and current Fiyero, Bradley Jaden’s version of The Prayer from the not so well-known animated movie Quest for Camelot was dramatic and beautiful, and showed off Bradley’s more classical tone. Personally I feel that was a lot stronger than his contemporary performance of Moana’s You’re Welcome, which at times I felt he struggled to keep up with, however still entertaining the crowd with the modern Disney bop.

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© Danny Kaan

Les Miserables star and Creator of West End Does, Rob Houchen, showed off his vocal versatility with an emotional version of Proud of Your Boy from Aladdin and an impressive duet of When You Believe from Prince of Egypt, with vocal powerhouse Marisha Wallace. My favourite performance of the night.

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© Danny Kaan

It was evident that a large portion of the audience was made up of ‘Hopefuls’ – fans of YouTube sensation and teen idol, Carrie Hope Fletcher(Les Miserables). Her renditions of Journey to The Past from Anastasia and Elton John’s Lion King classic, Can You Feel the Love Tonight, were both vocally strong and engaging. As well as her smashing solos, Carrie’s Beauty and The Beast duet with her Les Miserables co-star Rob Houchen, was definitely a magical moment to remember; they even waltzed during the instrumental!

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Overall West End Does was an evening t of pure magic and a true delight to watch, and the only negative is that there wasn’t much interaction between the artists and the audience. I look forward to West End Does: different themed nights in the future.

Photo Credit: Danny Kaan http://dannykaan.nl/portfolio-item/west-end-does-6/

Reviewed by Sophie Ross
5th November 2017
Reviewer Rating: ★★★★★

After recently finishing her run as Glinda in the 10th Anniversary cast of Wicked, Suzie Mathers made her return to the West End on Sunday night. Performing at the Crazy Coqs located in the depths of Brasserie Zedel, this was her first solo cabaret show and too much delight, was completely sold out. Entertaining the ever so intimate audience with a variety of songs, plenty of charm and lots of laughter, it was a special evening to be apart of (and we’re sad if you missed it).

Opening the show with “Journey To The Past” from Anastasia, Suzie entered the room to applause and cheers from the audience. What is always so special with attending these types of shows, is that you get to see the performer as themselves. For us, Suzie really defines the term “leading lady” and talent oozes from her so naturally. She’s a shining example of everything a performer should be and knows how to captivate a crowd with total ease. Telling stories of past experiences and showcasing her incredibly versatile vocal range, Suzie put together a setlist of dreams featuring anything from pure musical theatre, opera and Justin Bieber.

No show would be complete without a little help from some special guests. Suzie’s first guest was her Girlfriend Laura Francis. Talking about the idea of what “home” meant to her after travelling around the world for so long, Mathers explained that home for her now, is a not a place but a person. The pair dueted to the song “Home” and it was really beautifully sung with so much joy/happiness coming from them both. It was lovely to see how comfortable they were on stage together and just in general, a really happy part of the show.

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Suzie performs with Laura © Danny Kaan / Anniek de Wild

Suzie’s second guest was West End leading lady Rachel Tucker. The pair shared the stage together in Wicked and have been great friends ever since and it’s something that you can really tell by watching them. In an industry that is so competitive and fickle, it’s refreshing to see two powerful women support each other and get on so well. They sang a re-worked version of “Anything You Can Do” from Annie Got Your Gun which had the audience fully engaged in laughter.

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Suzie performs with Rachel Tucker © Danny Kaan / Anniek de Wild

Her other song choices included a City of Stars mash-up, a beautiful song from Broadway hit Dear Evan Hansen, a re-arranged version of Thank Goodness and many others that we weren’t expecting her hear her sing but made for a pleasant surprise.

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Our Editor Sophie with Suzie post show.

Ending the night with “What a wonderful world”, Mathers thanked the crowd, her guests and friends for being apart of such a magical evening. It really was such a charming evening and a great way to spend a Sunday night away from the hustle and bustle (see what we did there) of the outside world. We really hope that this is the first in many cabarets for Suzie. She’s a fantastic performer who has a great career still ahead of her. We can’t wait to see what she does next!

You can follow Suzie here
Let us know if you were at Suzie’s concert. We’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Photo credit: IG: @Danny_with_a_camera & @anniekdew | Twitter: @dannykaan & @anniekdew) and/or a link to the portfolio (www.dannykaan.nl).

International Musical Theatre star Suzie Mathers announces solo concert at Live At Zédel this November. Best known to London audiences for playing Glinda in the 10th Anniversary cast of Wicked, her yellow brick road journey has included ten major cities in over six different countries around the world over the past ten years. This is a perfect opportunity for fans to see Mathers in an intimate setting, telling stories and singing the songs that have shaped her career so far.

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Mathers with Willemijn Verkaik and Oliver Saville.

Suzie was most recently a special guest at Willemijn Verkaik’s solo concert at the Cambridge Theatre in which the pair sang a trio medley with former Glinda Savannah Stevenson. There is no indications yet whether Mathers will invite her fellow cast mates to guest perform with her on the night but it’s always nice to keep that element of surprise.

It’s no secret that this leading lady oozes with talent and this concert is guaranteed to be one not to miss. We’re very much looking forward to it and hope to see all of you there!

 

Suzie’s solo concert debut takes place on November 5th, 9:15pm
You can buy tickets here:
 https://www.brasseriezedel.com/live-at-zedel/suzie-mather-nov-2017/106109380

Reviewed by Sophie Ross
31st July 2017
Reviewer Rating: ★★★★

Last night, Dutch singer/actress Willemijn Verkaik took to the Cambridge Theatre stage for her highly anticipated one night only show. Normally the home of West End show Matilda, the room filled with avid theatre goers as well as dedicated fans who had travelled far and wide to see this leading lady in action. Most commonly known for her time playing the role of Elphaba (in three different languages, on the dutch/german tour and on both Broadway/West End), we were intrigued to see her stand as herself and perform both songs that she loves.

The evening started with a frozen mash-up sung by the “StageBox” children. Although the group were extremely talented and oozed with charisma, it was a rather strange way to open up the concert. Nevertheless, it was a fun way to get the energy up for the rest of the evening because if you don’t know “Let It Go” by now, where have you been hiding?

Photo Credit: Troy David Johnston

The setlist featured a mix of songs from Musical Theatre classics to country hits with even a George Michael medley thrown in there. It was great to see Willemijn sing songs that you wouldn’t expect her to sing and by having that variety, there was something that could appeal to everyone.

What we love best about attending one night only concerts, is seeing the performer as themselves and getting a feel of their personality. Willemijn’s quirkiness and somewhat awkward manor added with humour and a few sound mis-haps made you warm to her instantly. Her goofy/fun stage manor allowed the audience to laugh with her and feel engaged throughout. It’s no question that she is an incredible singer but it’s not until you are in an intimate setting like the Cambridge, where you can hear just how powerful her vocals are. She’s an absolute powerhouse of a performer and sang riff after riff so naturally. You can see why she’s known as one of the best Elphaba’s because with a vocal like that, it’s like being taken on a masterclass just by listening to her sing.

No concert would be a concert if it didn’t feature a few special guests and oh were there some fabulous ones. First up, Celinde Schoenmaker performing “I Dreamed a Dream” in which herself and Willemijn changed it up by singing a little in dutch. Their voices blended beautifully together and fun fact: Willemijn has auditioned for the Eponie in the past so this was her moment to absolutely give her all with that song. She was also joined by Tyrone Huntely, who’s vocals are so smooth/dreamy that you could listen to him sing all day long. And finally she was joined by her two Glindas, Savannah Stevenson and Suzie Mathers in which the trio sung a beautifully arranged Wicked medley, completely acapella. What was great about seeing the three of them perform together, was seeing the love that they genuinely have for each other. It’s so empowering to see three strong female’s supporting each other and sharing a true friendship.

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What surprised us the most about the evening was Willemijn’s songwriting skills. Singing a range of her own music, all of which sounded absolutely brilliant, the talent that this woman has is off the scale.

There’s no doubt that Willemijn is an incredible performer and we’re happy we were able to witness the magic of her one night only show. Finishing the evening with No Good Deed smoothly transitioning into Defying Gravity, it made for a perfect ending. We’d love to see her do more in the West End in the future.

Reviewed by Sophie Ross

On Sunday night, Giggin4Good held their tenth charity concert at the Actors Church, Covent Garden. Produced by Emma Howe, Hayley Guild and Karen Howe with the help of Nathan Lodge and Jordan Langford, they set out to raise money for the Soi Dog Foundation (in which Nathan and Jordan had visited earlier in the year). The evening hosted by Benjamin-Vivan Jones, featured a line-up filled with West End stars, a raffle with great prizes and a set-list of dreams. It really was one not to be missed.

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Featured performers from the night included Christine Allado, Andrew Bateup, Adam Bayjou, Luke Bayer, Danny Colligan, Nicole Faraday, Harry Francis, Luke George, James Gillan, Chlöe Hart, Houston Girlband (Lauren Byrne, Holly-Anne Hull, Charlotte Steele), Danielle Irvine, Jordan Langford, Nathan Lodge, Robert McNeilly, The MTA, Mikaela Newton, Daisy Steere, Savannah Stevenson, Benjamin Vivian-Jones and Emma Williams. The setlist included such a variation of songs from Dear Evan Hansen to Moana to Hamilton and it was great to see the West End get together to support such a fabulous cause. Equally it was great to see them away from their shows, singing songs from others. Highlights for us were both Savannah Stevenson and Emma Williams solo numbers, the MTA and the group performance of Waving Through A Window. Needless to say, everyone performed incredibly and the talent in the room was off the scale.

What made the evening extra special was the amount of people that had came to support. The church was filled to the brim with budding theatre goers, friends and family and the Soi Dog’s founder, John Dally. Joking that he actually wasn’t over from Thailand just for this event but feeling appreciative that it feel within the same dates of his travel, John took to the stage to say a few words about the hard work the foundation does. An avid Theatre lover himself, he spoke of his wife Gillian who sadly passed away earlier in the year and their passion for the arts. One of the duets in the evening Miss Saigon “Last night of the world” sung beautifully by Savannah Stevenson and Adam Bayjou was a special tribute to Gillian as it was from her favourite musical and one the pair had seen many times.

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The evening also paid tribute to the Manchester attack by having a one minute applause to honour the victims and their families. That was a particularly special moment to be apart of and felt nice to applaud rather than have a moment of silence.

It really was a fun evening, filled with so much love and light. Whenever you attend an evening that recognises and appreciates the work of a cause, it really does feel so great to be apart of. Huge congratulations to the Giggin4Good team alongside both Nathan and Jordan for putting together something so special and one that we were happy we could attend.

To see the pictures from the night, click here: https://www.giggin4good.nikkilewisphotos.co.uk/

Follow Giggin4Good here: https://twitter.com/Giggin4Good

Reviewed by Sophie Ross
Reviewer rating: ★★★★★

Currently starring as Standby Elphaba in Wicked, Alice Fearn took to the stage last night at the Crazy Coqs for her second cabaret style show. Accompanied by MD Nick Barstow she performed in front of an ever so intimate yet jam-packed audience filled with fans, friends and family. It was everything you’d want from a show of it’s type, all rolled into one (and was NOT to be missed).

It was great to see Alice shine up on stage as herself as standby’s don’t often get the recognition they deserve. From the first note, she had the audience in the palm of her hand and it was a real joy to watch. For us, Alice is the epitome of the word “talent”. Her vocals are second to none and she has such a warming down to earth personality that makes her instantly likeable. She joked with the audience that she’d have to look at the setlist to remind herself of the running order and forgot to dedicate a love song to her fiancé, all of which added to her charm and wit. She connected to the crowd with such ease, commanding the stage as the leading lady that she is.

The theme of the evening was taking well known songs but performing them with a different arrangement to what you may be used to hearing. What was great about the show was the variety. It was a real mix up from classic Disney to fabulous divas such as Barbara Streisand and Celine Dion. Alice sang a funny yet sweet song to declare her love for her oh so talented MD and you could tell that being on stage is where she belongs.

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If her brilliant vocals weren’t enough, she was joined on stage by three stagey guests, Adrian Hansel, Lara Denning and Oliver Saville. It’s always great to see performers stripped back away from their shows. Performing a slowed down version of Defying Gravity, tIMG_7790aken from the #OutOfOz video series, Saville and Fearn sounded absolutely fabulous together. A real treat for any Wicked fan.

Ending the evening with “The Big Finish”, followed by an encore in which Alice took to the piano to sing “Being Alive” and applauded out by a full standing ovation, it was a fun and special night to be apart of. Alice is a star and you can tell she has a wonderful career ahead of her. Let’s hope that includes more one night only cabarets (and a second album!).

You can download her album from here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/where-ive-been…-where-im/id1158246055

To catch her as Elphaba, check the website for holiday dates www.wickedthemusical.co.uk