Christmas in New York at the Palace Theatre
For one night only the Palace Theatre was host to the seasonal concert Christmas in New York, which returned to the West End for the first time in four years. Although promising a cabaret night of Christmas classics evoking the magical city of New York, the evening fell flat and drawn out, never quite taking off.
Now most of us love Christmas, and especially Christmas music, often laced with messages of love, kinship and hope in the face of adversity. But the magic and romance of Christmas was lost somewhat in this production. The title of the show is misleading – apart from a screechy rendition of Empire State of Mind at the start of the show there was barely any reference to New York in both stage setting and the performances that ensued.
There was a lack of interaction between the cast during duets or group performances, making it harder for the audience to properly engage with the show. It felt at times like watching X Factor hopefuls clamber on one-by-one singing their favourite Christmas hits, rather than a multi-layered musical treat.
The show relies heavily on Broadway star Eden Espinosa with her powerhouse vocals, who lifted the audience at the end with a beautiful rendition of O Holy Night. But the real star of the show is Tori Allen-Martin, who brings real emotion and soulfulness to songs like Mariah Carey’s Miss You Most (at Christmas Time) and Perfect Year. In a rare piece of storytelling she is also charming as a woman trying to win the affections of a man she’s just met in the comical duet Baby It’s Cold Outside with Les Misérables star Scott Garnham.
However, the rest of the cast were disappointing. After hearing one too many watered down versions of favourites such as Santa Baby and Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, we left feeling underwhelmed rather than inspired.
Christmas in New York was at the Palace Theatre on 9th December 2013. For further information visit the show’s website here.