CD Review: Kimberley Walsh – Centre Stage (2013)

“I follow the night”

Girls Aloud star Kimberley Walsh released her debut solo album in 2013 and eschewing the pop efforts of her colleagues Nuhdeen, Cheryl and Nicola, she opted for a collection of musical theatre songs. Centre Stage thus capitalised on her appearance in Shrek as Princess Fiona but aiming so firmly for the middle of the road with a tragically uninspired track selection leaves it a rather dull album to listen to, no matter how pleasant her voice is.

So we get the likes of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Memory’ (out of her range), Wicked’s ‘Defying Gravity’ (also out of her range), and Les Misérables’ ‘On My Own’ which pass by far too blandly with arrangements that are too close to muzak for comfort. They should be thankful though, as West Side Story’s ‘Somewhere’ and Oliver’s ‘As Long As He Needs Me’ are misguidedly given the cheesy easy listening treatment which may well actually be a criminal offence on Shaftesbury Avenue.

There’s more success in more relaxed songs that suit the lower end of her register – album opener ‘One Day I’ll Fly Away’ is a case in point here, a gentle ‘Another Suitcase in Another Hall’ also shimmering nicely as does ‘Hushabye Mountain’ (although that’s a hard song not to do well). And the duets are chosen well, Ronan Keating accompanies her on a skip through Once’s ‘Falling Slowly’ and Louise Dearman brings real class to Miss Saigon’s ‘I Still Believe’.
And as is the way of things in the digital age, bonus tracks are shunted off onto deluxe editions when by rights, they should be on the album proper. Subtle acoustic takes on Blood Brothers’ ‘Easy Terms’ and the Gershwins’ ‘Someone To Watch Over Me’ prove her the good singer she is and very much play to her strengths. Ultimately though, the pitch perfect Alias Club Mix of ‘One Day I’ll Fly Away’ proves her natural home is on thumping pop songs in gay clubs.

DVD Review: Goddess

“You have your whales and your work”

An Australian musical rom-com starring Laura Michelle Kelly and Ronan Keating? Goddess is a strange beast indeed, based on a one-woman show by Joanna Weinberg and transferred to the screen with the help of Mark Lamprell, it did decent business in Australia in 2013 but didn’t make it over to these shores apparently. Which is a little surprising as it has a schlocky, amusing quality – somewhere between Mamma Mia and Muriel’s Wedding – that could well have found an audience, I think.

There’s no doubting the randomness – Kelly and Keating play Elspeth and James, a Anglo-Irish couple who have moved to Tasmania so that he can spend time saving whales, leaving her to deal with her loneliness and troublesome twin toddlers. To solve some of the problem, James get Elspeth a webcam so that they can chat and as one thing leads to another – as is so often the way – she ends up becoming an internet sensation as she broadcasts the songs she writes and performs at the kitchen sink. Continue reading “DVD Review: Goddess”

Once the musical – new trailer released

“Cause this is what you’ve waited for”

It will have been hard to miss Ronan Keating making his West End debut in Once the Musical a couple of weeks back and garnering some pretty decent reviews in the process (as well as some made-up tabloid stories, a sure sign you’ve made it!). And now, you can get a little taster of his work in the newly released trailer below. Ronan Keating and Jill Winternitz are now leading the cast of this award-winning musical through to the end of its run on 21st March. Keep up to date with news, deals and other exciting tidbits on the show’s Facebook and Twitter.