“What man could ask for more”
To Do. To Be. – The Music of Tim Prottey-Jones is Prottey-Jones’ third CD, an album collecting together music from a range of sources for which he has written – stage musicals After the Turn, Equally and The First Last Kiss, musical films Down Flew the Doves and Standing on the Edge and lastly one play with music Exes. And though he is a performer himself (currently to be found in Kinky Boots), he’s gone down the tried and tested route of going through his address book to get an impressive roster of talent to perform his songs.
So the album opens with Kinky co-star Amy Lennox’s sweet but determined ‘Have you ever?’, former Once colleagues Declan Bennett and Arthur Darvill rock out gently on ‘Kiss till you can’t kiss anymore’ and ‘Leaving for you’ respectively and from the same show, Zrinka Cvitešić gives a gorgeously tender vocal performance in ‘I for one’. That Prottey-Jones can write a decent song is in no doubt and in the case of Laura Pitt-Pulford’s ‘Nothing’ and Jacqueline Hughes’ ‘I’ll Be With You Always’, exciting musical theatre leaps from the speakers, the potential here is considerable. Continue reading “CD Review: To Do. To Be. – The Music of Tim Prottey-Jones”
A Very West End Christmas
A rather special project, A Very West End Christmas has gathered up a group of nearly 50 musical theatre performers to record an EP of 5 Christmas classics for a number of charitable causes – Great Ormond Street’s Giggin’ for Good, West End Fests for CRY UK and The Band Aid Charitable Trust. It’s a steal at £3.95 for the EP and with some seriously great talent onboard, assembled by co-producers Kris Rawlinson and Darren Bell, it’s a mostly very good listen.
The strongest numbers are, a little perversely, actually the ones which don’t feature the full choir. Michael Xavier croons perfectly through ‘The Christmas Song’ (although it is sad that there is no accompanying video of him roasting his chestnuts…), Chloe Hart and Jeremy Hart have lots of fun in a swinging ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’, and there’s an interesting arrangement of’ O Holy Night’ featuring Sabrina Aloueche, Jodie Jacobs and Katie Payne (though that song will always belong to Hannah Waddingham for me). Continue reading “Christmas music 2013”
“You sure put on a show”
One of the joys of cabaret concerts is the sheer range and diversity of material that they can pick from to best reflect the personalities and voices of performers, or to suit an overarching theme for their programme. Divas Unsung managed to work both these aspects into their Sunday evening gig at the Leicester Square Theatre, shining a light on some lesser known comedy numbers, empowerment anthems and showstoppers from musical theatre shows that have mostly slipped under the radar in the West End or on Broadway.
Of course, aficionados of the genre may score higher recognition points than your regular punter and the active fringe musical scene means some are less obscure than they might have been: Stephen Schwartz’s The Baker’s Wife, Jonathan Larson’s tick…tick…BOOM! and Kander and Ebb’s Kiss of the Spiderwoman have all been seen in London relatively recently, though one would hard-pressed to find noted flops like Elton John and Bernie Taupin’s Lestat or Michael Gore’s Carrie anywhere.
Linked together by compere James Barron, a team of six Divas worked their way through a varied selection of songs, teaming up occasionally and backed where necessary by a chorus of bright young things from the MTA. And under James Doughty’s musical direction, it proved a successful enterprise. Ashleigh Gray’s consummate stage presence made her contributions a highlight of the evening – the stirring ‘One of those Nights’ from Metropolis soared through the auditorium and Betty Blue Eyes’
Nobody, a rare moment of wide recognition, brimmed with vivacious energy.
But sharing the honours was Rebecca Trehearn, currently touring the country in Ghost the musical. Opting for a more character-driven approach, her rich voice layered in the emotion to make ‘Come To Your Senses’ (from tick…tick…BOOM!) utterly breath-taking and finding great pathos in ‘I Never Told Him I Love Him’ from an otherwise trashy Prisoner Cell Block H. Elsewhere, Ambra Caserotti and Kirby Lunn had fun on the duet ‘Ready To Be Loved’ from Edges, the former also engaging well with ‘Fly Fly Away’ from Catch Me If You Can.
The format of largely obscure songs combined with Barron’s patter did mean that there was precious little opportunity for the performers to express their own connections to the song choices and that was something that was missed. This kind of show catches fire when one feels the genuine love for the material not just through the singing but anecdotally as well, the opportunity to see well-loved performers singing off-duty not fully taken here. But that shouldn’t take away from a fascinating evening, extremely well performed, that could well provide inspiration for aspiring producers of the next big fringe musical revival.