Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Beyond The Barricade

This review was originally written for The Public Reviews.

Beyond the Barricade 2014 Poster

Celebrating their fifteenth year of touring the UK and mainland Europe, Beyond the Barricade spent one night at the Royal & Derngate, allowing the people of Northampton and beyond the chance to revel in some of the best of musical theatre tunes. This show is a fantastic amalgamation of songs, including those from Miss Saigon, Jersey Boys, Chess, Blood Brothers, Evita, and of course Les Misérables, to name but a few. Each member of this powerhouse quartet has a strong theatre background and it certainly shows through in their exceptional vocals and stage presence.

Andy Reiss and David Fawcett devised Beyond the Barricade after appearing in the Manchester and London casts of Les Misérables. Andy Reiss is the best character actor by far throughout the show, switching seamlessly from one to another, all the while being pianist and conductor simultaneously. He is no stranger to versatility as he remains the only person to take on both the role of resident director for Les Misérables as well as perform in the show at the same time.

David Fawcett does an excellent job of hosting the evening and seems at home chatting to the audience and joking with them and his fellow performers. His voice is a force to be reckoned with and is at its best during performances of Phantom of the Opera tunes and the show stopping Les Mis numbers.

Rebecca Veer gives effortless performances and it doesn’t seem as though there is a note her voice cannot hit. It appears that she also has a propensity for comedy as twice during the show last night she received the biggest laugh from the audience, firstly during her Spamalot duet with David, and secondly during ;Master of the House where she made a distinct and effective alteration to her appearance to make the most of her character’s short time on stage.

Katie Leeming’s voice on occasion gets lost amongst those of her fellow performers, but it’s when she has her opportunity as a soloist that she really shows what she is made of, and proves that she deserves to be there just as much as her cast mates.

The one minor peeve about this show is the performers’ recurring need to move up to and away from their microphones during a song. It looks a tad messy and it really doesn’t seem necessary, especially as they also use spotlights to determine which performer the audience should be focussing on.

This show is perfect for theatre lovers of all ages, as it covers such a range of shows from the classics which have been running for almost three decades, to the more modern productions which are equally as popular. What is also great to see is that the group don’t just perform the more well known or recognisable numbers (for example there was no ‘Defying Gravity’ during the Wicked ensemble) and this is really refreshing.

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