Review; A West End Christmas - The Royal Concert Hall Nottingham
If you're not a fan of change, you may have been surprised to see an almost totally different line up at this years A West End Christmas.
The production, which heralds the start of the festive season in style every year, has in previous visits been almost like a comfy pair of Christmas slippers, in terms of the stars, this year though was almost a completely different line-up with regulars Jacqui Scott and Scott Davies missing.
It felt kind of like when your mate splits up with someone you've known for years and then they bring along a new partner. You're dubious, comparing them with the last one.
We needed have worried though, this years offering, which gives concert-goers the rare opportunity to see stars of the West End right here in Nottingham, was simply brilliant.
Accompanied by the ten-piece West End orchestra, under the watchful eye of MD Richard Weedon, this year the stars were Mark O'Malley (Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita), Caroline Sheen (Grease, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Les Miserable, Mamma Mia) Damian Humbley (Fiddler on the Roof, Little Shop of Horrors) with the only returning star from last year being Harriet Jones (The Phantom of the Opera, Guys and Dolls) .All have played roles in the West End and performed on various recordings.
The set list had been tweaked to showcase their starring roles alongside a festive feast of some of the worlds best show tunes, some of which have become favourites year after year such as Memory from Cats, The Music of the Night from Phantom and Empty Chairs at Empty Tables from Les Miserable (or Tables and Chairs as I heard a woman in front of me call it)
After a slightly cringey comedy start in the first set, the show seemed to go from strength to strength, as did the performers outstanding vocals, which by the end was almost a sing off as the applause grew stronger with each number. The vocals also complemented each other brilliantly in the harmonies and the on-stage chemistry was charming.
Hard to pick a stand out number as they seemed to get better and better as the evening went on and there was a good mix. Credit to Mark too for not flinching when his cumber band pinged during Music of the Night.
The evening ended, as it has done on previous years, with The Holiday Medley. A medley of seasonal hits to put us all in the Christmas spirit.
The audience was on their feet for more and were treated to another medley we've heard previous years, the Abba Medley. The show actually seemed more professional this year. I think they've improved on the set and lighting which gives it more of a produced feel with added ambience.
I'd say go and see it, but it was for one night only, folks! But put in note in that diary you get for Christmas to book it next year.
Disclaimer: My tickets were complimentary but my views and vocal envy are my own