LEGENDS of the West End

Mesmerising and Memorable *****    WHAT'S ON SOUTHWEST REVIEW by S. Powdrill

What an emotional rollercoaster of a show, this is, there are tears, laughter, goose bumps and stunned silences from the audience as the superbly talented cast of 11 seemed to replicate a cast of 30! What impressed me the most though, was just how versatile the vocalists were… yes, they could sing, but their acting and dance skills impressed too. It appeared they all had numerous persona’s, that changed every single time they walked on to the stage.

There were so many highlights to this show, here are a few of mine, that I feel are deserving of a mention.

The show’s compere, who treated us to anecdotes about the featured musicals, Dean Winter, performed the Ivor Novello & Grammy award winning song, What Kind of Fool Am I. Well I was transfixed, I loved it!

Sami- Jane is mesmerising, I had a lump in my throat not once but twice, when she performed her solo Scarborough, from the Girls, and again, when she led the full cast in the glorious number from Blood Brothers, Tell Me It’s Not True.

Lisa T Winter, I can sum up in one word…. WOW! Her Diva’s Lament from Spamalot could not have been more different from her solo. Listen, she really went from being a tragic Diva to a Dream girl, with absolutely no effort.

You cannot walk out of this theatre without being impressed by Lily Laight, with her breath-taking performances. Her extremely mature delivery of, Don’t Rain on My Parade, was worthy of a standing ovation alone, as was her fabulous Tap Duet with George Hawkins, in one of the comedic highlights of the night, the Billy Elliot sketch.

Becky Bennet, absolutely nailed her performance during a duet with Dean, Money, from Cabaret, and then had the audience transfixed as she belted out, I Have Nothing, with that perfect key changing moment, spot on!

You’d be hard pressed to note that the wonderful performance of Nobody Does It Like Me, performed by Debbie Farrell, was not Dame Shirley Bassey herself! As part of the ensemble, Debbie brings enthusiasm and glamour too.

Barry Elmer oozes magnetism & with the endearing Luke Sampson, they both really capture the very essence that is Musical Theatre, with outstanding performances throughout. As does Josh Cousins, with one of the most emotional songs of the evening. He performs with Lily, Ghost the Musical. Every time Josh is on stage, he delivers! For a teen, he shows great promise, as do George Hawkins & Clayton-Jay Peffers who star and share the role of Billy Elliot. What a super opportunity they have been afforded by, the show’s producer and director, Colin Matthews.

Les Misérable’s is unquestionably one of the most successful West End shows ever, and it makes for a stunning finalé. Darren Lake performing Bring Him Home, is one of the best versions, I have heard… ever! His voice and stage craft were perfect for this role. He would not be out of place at Queens Theatre in London in the starring role of Jean Valjean.

Whatever role or song, everyone engages effortlessly with the audience, and clearly every single one of the 30…oops I mean 11 cast members clearly love doing what they do, almost as much as the audience loved this show. The standing ovation, was a testament to that!

 

Mr Showman delivers again with another five-star Babbacombe blockbuster HERALD EXPRESS REVIEW by Paul Levie

Imagine being able to choose all your favourite chocolates in one box.  Or all your favourite songs on one album.

Well that’s what you get from Mr Showman Colin Matthews in his latest Babbacombe blockbuster ‘Legends of the West End’

No boring coffee creams for impresario and director Colin – he doesn’t do boring.  No tuneless fill-ins while you wait for a show’s one killer number – he doesn’t do fill-ins.

What you get is a non-stop stream of all the best bits from all the best musicals through all the best eras.

OK, so you don’t get to see the REAL Elaine Page, or the REAL Sarah Brightman.  They may not be the REAL Jersey Boys up there, or the REAL Dreamgirls.

But then again, you’re not paying West End prices, or flights to Vegas.  You’re not having to book a luxury cruise or pay to fly to Broadway.  But boy, can they sing!

There are too many ‘stars’ to name them all; too many songs to write a list.  So, like Colin Matthews – whose been doing it for 30 years – I’ll give you a little taster.....

Remember ‘I know him so well’ from Chess?  Or ‘One more day’, from Les Mis?  Know ‘Money’ from Cabaret or ‘Luck be a lady’ from Guys and Dolls? What about Ghost?  And Phantom?  What about Billy Elliot and Oliver?  Throw in a Funny Girl or two, some Blood Brothers and a touch of Starlight Express and you’re starting to get the picture.

And what about the cast?  Many of them are old Babbacombe Theatre favourites so the huge army of Babbacombe faithful know they’re getting great singers, great acts and more than a little humour.  And they gave them a standing ovation at the end to prove it!

The set may not have broken the bank, but it gets ‘em on stage and it gets ‘em off again.  What more do you need?

So, who do we have?  Our own local darlin’ Lily Laight, whose been in the West End and Hollywood so long it’s easy to forget she’s just 15.

Dean Winters – small in stature but huge in personality.

Lisa T Winter – wow what a belter!

Debbie Farrell – not the real Shirley Bassey?  Close your eyes and tell me that.

Then there’s Darren Lake, with a rich, deep voice like molten molasses. 

Cheeky chappies Barry Elmer and Luke Sampson, who add humour to their striking voices.

Sami Jane Slater and Becky Bennett who can tackle just about any kind of song.

The list goes on and on, and if I’ve missed anyone out I’m sorry, it just SEEMS like a cast of thousands.

Hats off to Colin and the team, too, for continuing with his unique youth policy that sees local youngsters getting their chances in the big time.  Just listen to the blossoming talents of Joshua Cousins, Clayton Peffers and George Hawkins.

You know, it was Forrest Gump, not Tom Hanks, who said that life is like a box of chocolates.

You don’t have to be a real movie star to find all the best nutty caramels – you just have to go on down to the Babbacombe Theatre.

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