Broadway in Concert at the London Palladium
London’s renowned Palladium theatre had the privilege of accommodating five modern musical theatre talents and the fantastic Novello Orchestra – organised and conducted by (to paraphrase cheeky actor Lee Mead) the tall, talented, charming, dark and good-looking David Mahoney – and everyone on stage made sure to do it justice. The Broadway and West End stars presented an unforgettable night, giving no less than their best.
It was an evening of warm nostalgia and eager discovery; those who did not already know the five young performers before the show certainly did by intermission time. Each had a defining set of characteristics that, along with a carefully constructed set list, determined the dynamics of the concert. The band kicked it off with a show tune medley and Sophie Evans was first to arrive, glowing, with Good Morning Baltimore. The hall was rife with goosebumps from the start at the young Welsh singer’s gentle, childish aura and ringing voice.
Matt Cardle was second to grace the stage, beginning with Memphis Lives with Me, from his recent debut on the West End scene. He showed some nerves in his very exposed and passionate cover of Queen’s Who Wants to Live Forever but his reappearances were strong. Ben Forster shone exceptionally bright last night with strong tracks from his most prominent part yet in Jesus Christ Superstar; tears were welling up in everyone’s eyes, including his own, during Gethsemane.
But of course the darlings of the audience were Lee Mead and Kerry Ellis, who had a considerable amount of stage time between them. The starry-eyed Mead’s playful, irresistible delivery of Any Dream Will Do finally had the awestruck room singing chorus lines under him, amusingly conducted by Mahoney from his rostrum. The two charmers gave the most entertaining and endearing speeches of the night, such as the conductor introducing a most certainly absent Jennifer Hudson to the stage.
Ellis, quietly radiant and humble in between songs, tore the roof off the century-old building with a number of challenging, emotional tunes, delivered flawlessly, with no restraint whatsoever. Chills ran audibly down people’s backs and she received a standing ovation for her trademark rendition of Defying Gravity, as well as the most deafening cheers all the way through.
It was an exceptional occasion to hear these vocalists perform as solo acts rather than actors in a play, and to experience the brunt of each individual’s technical abilities and infectious dedication to every song. The highlights of the night are too many to mention: the Novello Orchestra reinterpreted all the classics, from Chicago to Les Misérables, with such a tight, impeccable sound that it took everyone in – including the musical theatre stars (and Mahoney, who joined the others in the funky finale Ease On Down the Road), who could not stop praising their musical prowess. An all-round killer performance without a minute of downtime.
Broadway in Concert was on for one night only on 17th November 2016.
Watch the Novello Orchestra’s showreel here: