What is there to say that hasn’t already been said about Kerry Ellis? Queen of the musical theatre, Ellis has seen huge success in both the West End and Broadway, having starred in iconic roles including Meat in Queen’s We Will Rock You, as well as being the first British Elphaba in Wicked. Ellis’ concert at the Adelphi Theatre on Tuesday evening was absolutely phenomenal! As usual, her vocal range was nothing short of flawless. The concert was in promotion of Ellis’ 4th studio album, Kings and Queens, which blends her infamous musical theatre style with contemporary country rock. The album is composed of 12 tracks, mainly original songs, alongside a couple of carefully selected covers.
What struck me most about this album was the range of styles Ellis was able to cover, yet the entire collection still felt completely cohesive. The opening number, the title track Kings and Queens left you with a certain feeling of empowerment that only music can evoke. Another personal favourite from the album was Lemonade, which feels like such a perfect, uplifting song for summer, as well as Big Wide World which carries the same optimistic air.
A particular mention has to go to special guest Tom Ball, whose vocal range absolutely blew me away! Ellis and Ball’s duet Mean the World to Me was such a beautiful contrast to the more explicitly powerhouse tracks on the album, in an incredibly refreshing way. Ellis explained how the track was written to replicate the same atmosphere as Shallow from the film A Star is Born, which it did so successfully. Ball returned to duet the original song Shallow before giving us an unforgettable rendition of Falling Slowly from the musical Once, which will undoubtedly stick with me for a while. The concert also featured the amazing talent of the London Show Choir, who brought great energy to many iconic musical theatre songs.
I know I keep picking ‘favourite’ songs from the evening, but it is really difficult to place any of them in order since every track was amazing – so I’ll do it again! The song My All was absolutely beautiful, carrying so much emotional weight behind it. The track Love Wins was also a highlight, showcasing Ellis’ seemingly effortless belt.
To put it short, not many people have what it takes to captivate a theatre as grand as the Adelphi all by themself, but Kerry Ellis held the entire audience in a state of awe until the very end. Her rendition of Defying Gravity near the very end, with a much more muted down, intentional tone, felt like a moment for everyone to take a breath and truly appreciate what we’d just witnessed. The entire evening was sensational, and I can’t wait to listen to Ellis’ new album Kings and Queens on repeat for the foreseeable future.
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The title of this winner of Theatre 503’s 2023 International Playwriting Award by Roxy Cook may seem like the set-up to a joke, but the narrative that unspools is instead an affectionate, gently barbed and at base quite sobering portrait of three ordinary souls (and one restless feline) adrift in modern Moscow. There is much affable, satirical back-and-forth commentary on the accepted myths & stereotypes of the Russian spirit & soul. Beset by the indignities of age, opportunism, graft, fatigue, the characters orbit one another, doomed to play out their roles in an unjust, predatory and saturnine universe. The play opens … More A WOMAN WALKS INTO A BANK – REVIEW – THEATRE503
Peter Pan Goes Wrong first premiered in London at the Pleasance Theatre in 2013, and earlier this year the show made its Broadway debut. Now the production is back in the West End for the Christmas season. Following on from The Play That Goes Wrong, in this production, J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan is staged by the fictitious Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society and goes awry, disastrously so. The meta-comedy is filled with slapstick comedy, sometimes the humour may be predictable and silly, but it’s universally funny throughout – there is something for everyone here, and the laughs come thick and fast … More PETER PAN GOES WRONG – REVIEW – LYRIC THEATRE
Drawing heavily from the classic canon of the British supernatural, High Tide’s trio of contemporary Gothic narratives uses traditional storytelling formats to address contemporary themes. Directed by Elayce Ismail, reverent musical interludes accompany tales of apparitions and nighttime conjurings that speak of women from the East of England. Unfortunately, the effect is less chilling and more lightweight, with conventional structures, predictable plot twists and an over-reliance on external forces to drive narrative shoring up some of the less relatable aspects of the genre. Nicola Werenowska’s The Beach House, perhaps the cleanest of the three tales, tells of a mother and … More GHOST STORIES BY CANDLELIGHT – REVIEW – SAM WANAMAKER PLAYHOUSE
Drum roll please…(Cue a literal drum rolling across the stage.) The Lyric pantomime is one of traditions with the return of many well-loved jokes and skits. Costumes and sets are all made at the Lyric itself by Good Teeth, with set pieces being reused year on year. This year Cinderella gets the Hammersmith makeover, with some success. The costuming is fun and vibrant, with the ugly stepsisters’ equine pyjamas and hoop-skirted ball gowns giving all the wrong kinds of extra you need for those characters. Cinderella’s on stage dress transformation is magical and really well-timed. The Dame, Lady Jelly-Bottom’s, outfits … More CINDERELLA – REVIEW – LYRIC HAMMERSMITH