Thursday, 18 July 2013

Momentous Musicals: Theatre Review


Having perviously played a One off night in Wimbledon last year, Momentous Musicals is back. Keeping some of the songs from last years show with lots of new additions. From classics like Andrew Lloyd Webber to new Broadway hits like Newsies, this show celebrates generations of shows that have audiences coming back. The production also showcases what British musical talent has to offer, from the extremely experienced and well respected John Owen-Jones to new graduates from Drama Schools such as Mountview and GSA. The set list for the show has been chosen very well, I loved the selections of songs because even though there was the expected like Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, Wicked and West Side Story there was also some surprises like a Disney Melody, SMASH, Ghost and The Wiz. 
For what the show was it was very good, when you see something like this you could expect a bit of a budget performance with poor quality orchestrations and average performers, this was the total opposite. First of all the stage looked very classic, a simple black background with a starry effect was elegant and made room for Tom Boucher (lighting designer) to really fill the stage with some fantastic colours. The lighting had a lot of great moments, it was a delightful design and he adjusted the lighting to every song which really added to the over quality of the performance. 
George Dyer returns as Musical Director, I was so impressed with his work on the Momentous Musicals Live CD (see my review here) and he did not disappoint this time around. He manages to put new life into these songs and really pulls everything together. The show opens with One Night Only (as does the CD) sung by Rachael Wooding (We Will Rock You, Evita, Hairspray) who really sets the bar for the rest of the show, Richard Lowe (Loserville, The Light Princess) Bronté Barbé (Over the Rainbow Finalist) Maggie Lynne (Recent Mountview graduate) and Cellen Chugg Jones (Recent GSA graduate) provided backing vocals for the number. I felt they seemed pretty nervous and Rachael's energy in the song was way above theirs, a little disappointing but they soon picked it up and from then on matched the star quality of the headlining cast entirely. 
Gareth Gates (Les Mis, Joseph, Legally Blonde) then sings Corner of the Sky from Pippin, this was my favorite song that he sung through out the show. It seemed to fit his vocals perfectly and was a little different from what you’d expect, I love the song and he really did it justice and through out proved why he deserved to be on that stage. Ashleigh Gray (Wicked, I Dreamed a Dream, Betwixt!) stood out to be one of the star performances for me, her vocals were top notch and exceeded all my expectations. Her Wizard and I was pitch perfect and her rendition of Don’t Rain On My Parade blew the roof off the theatre, paired with Rachael Wooding in Let Me Be Your Star (SMASH) and Take me or Leave Me (Rent) really were my top highlights of the night, love a good belt off! 
John Owen-Jones (Les Mis, Phantom of the Opera) is musical theatre through and though, I also loved that he talked to the audience which wasn’t done by any one else. The performers seemed to just come on stage, do their song and rush off stage. An occasional introduction would have been nice, whilst the songs were done brilliantly the show as a whole seemed quite rushed. Till I Hear You Sing was one of the numbers performed by John and it was incredible, its an incredibly written song and I can not fault it. 
Richard Lowe sang Santa Fe from Newsies in the first act and what performance it was! Although I believe it didn’t totally suit his voice, he put everything he had into the song and showed that he deserved another number! Rachael Wooding proves why she should be a bigger musical theatre name in the show, her talent is remarkable. I did think it was a little strange when With One Look was cut, I was looking forward to hearing her sing this and it was somehow missed even though it was listed in the programme.  
Bronté Barbé also provided a beautiful rendition of Over The Rainbow, being the first of the four supporting singers to perform she was obviously nervous and it did feel a little rushed but none the less it was a charming performance. I’d also like to mention how great she was in When I Grow Up (Matilda) providing the vocals for the Miss Honey solo. Cellen Chugg Jones was a surprise for me, when he came out and performed superstar from Jesus Christ Superstar; his confidence was amazing and his vocals were brilliant, a performance you’d expect from someone who has far more experience than him. 
Maggie Lynne showed a lot of versatility in the show which was nice to see because all the other performers in the show stuck to one thing (not a bad thing though!), she really had her starring moment when she sang All I Ask Of You with John Owen Jones. I must say also that she is one of the most stunning girls I have ever seen! I can not wait to see these four performers careers blossom, no doubt we’ll be seeing more of them. 
This is a good quality show with an incredible showcase of the Musical theatre talent we have to offer, its a wonderful selection of songs and I can grantee you’ll have a wonderful night! I urge you to catch this show, won’t be one to miss! 

Rating: ****


Cast Includes: Gareth Gates, John Owen-Jones, Rachael Wooding, Ashleigh Gray, Bronté Barbe, Richard Lowe, Maggie Lynne, Cellen Chugg Jones, Louise Duncan Sean McCrystal, Caspar Meurisse and Ashleigh Read. The band includes Sam Edwards, Alex Karban, Lewis Turner, Fraiser Patterson, Chez Taylor, Sebastian Philpott and is lead by Musical Director George Dyer. 

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