Theatre, Musicals & Concerts – Views & Reviews
The St James Theatre is now one year old, built on the site of the old Westminster Theatre which was destroyed by fire in 2002. Underneath the main theatre is a fantastic studio space with a wonderfully classy atmosphere and its own bar, a glamorous and intimate space perfect for this concert produced by KiwiFruits Productions.
Sadly I missed the first Sondheim: Women concert on 7 September, but this second concert was unmissable for us given one of our favourite performers Hannah Waddingham was headlining. Terence Penk lead a superb band with Maria Rodriguez Reina on ‘cello, Mike Higgins on double bass and Janette Williams on percussion, as the stellar cast took us on a tour of some of Sondheim’s greatest songs.
The musicals of Stephen Sondheim feature female roles of great depth and character, which must be why so many leading ladies relish his work. Strangely though, despite a wealth of great material some of the choices this evening were written for male characters – notably Being Alive and Marry Me A Little (performed by Jamie Birkett and Lauren Samuels respectively) – but they work just as well from a female perspective.
It’s difficult to pick out highlights as all of the performers were excellent – nevertheless it was fantastic to see Josefina Gabrielle reprise Growing Up so soon after making that song her own in the recent Merrily We Roll Along run; and were were given two formidable Mamma Rose’s with Rebecca Lock’s take on Rose’s Turn and Lucy Williamson’s particularly barnstorming Some People.
Hannah Waddingham was splendid as usual, revisiting some of her previous roles with Last Midnight (from her role as the Witch in Into The Woods) and ending the evening with her moving rendition of Send In The Clowns (from A Little Night Music). The Sondheim women all returned for an encore, cramming the small stage with a rousing rendition of Old Friends.
We were lucky enough to meet some of the performers after the concert – many thanks to Josefina Gabrielle, Lauren Samuels and Meghan Rayner for politely putting up with two slightly sozzled admirers; additionally so to Hannah Waddingham for introducing us to her parents!
Keep an eye on kiwifruitspro.com for future KiwiFruits Productions concerts. Hannah Waddingham will be returning to the St James Theatre for a concert on the main stage with her band on 20 October – tickets available via stjamestheatre.co.uk.
|Hannah Waddingham:||Last Midnight [Into The Woods]|
|Send In The Clowns [A Little Night Music]|
|Jamie Birkett:||The Worst Pies In London [Sweeney Todd]|
|Being Alive [Company]|
|Zoë Curlett:||The Glamorous Life [A Little Night Music]|
|Jamie Birkett & Zoë Curlett:||A Boy Like That/I Have A Love [West Side Story]|
|Josefina Gabrielle:||What More Do I Need? [Saturday Night]|
|Growing Up [Merrily We Roll Along]|
|Rebecca Lock:||Rose’s Turn [Gypsy]|
|Children Will Listen [Into The Woods]|
|Fiona O’Carroll:||Anyone Can Whistle [Anyone Can Whistle]|
|Not While I’m Around [Sweeney Todd]|
|Could I Leave You? [Follies]|
|Lauren Samuels:||Marry Me A Little [Company]|
|Take Me To The World [Evening Primrose]|
|Emma Williams:||Losing My Mind [Follies]|
|Sooner Or Later [Dick Tracy]|
|Lucy Williamson:||Some People [Gypsy]|
|Ladies Who Lunch [Company]|
|Hannah Cheetham, Stacey Ghent, Eleanor McPhee & Meghan Rayner:||Broadway Baby [Follies]|
|Back In Business [Dick Tracy]|