Wednesday, 9 March 2022

REVIEW: Roles We'll Never Play at the Lyric Theatre

Roles We’ll Never Play is probably one of the best-known cabaret shows around at the moment, and rightly so. Full of performers singing songs from roles they may not traditionally be the right casting for, it's a night full of talent and will make any musical theatre fan gag in their seat. Starting in the small Union Theatre this show has grown to play huge West End houses like the Vaudeville and Apollo theatres, it moves to its biggest house to date, the Lyric Theatre. 

Produced by the incredibly talented performer Tom Duern, who is about to feature in the cast of the All-Male H.M.S Pinafore, he pulls together an incredible lineup of performers who blow us out of our seats. On top of that, he manages to have time to drop in and give us a few songs. Performing This is Me from the Greatest Showman and featuring in a performance of Make Me Happy from the Wild Party alongside Rebecca Gilliland and Eve Norris, his vocals are out of this world and he reaches notes I didn’t even know were possible! 

Christian Maynard performed a rendition of I Didn’t Plan It from Waitress and it was fantastic, his voice is incredible and it was is lovely to be introduced to a new talent that I wasn’t aware of before, you’ll be able to catch him very soon in the London production of & Juliet. 

Another Stella performance was Danielle Steers, this woman can do no wrong and her performance of Sweet Transvestite from Rocky Horror was the perfect number in the lineup. An incredible voice and is also magnetic on stage. 

The fantastic Courtney Bowman graced us with her presence in a wonderful performance of Made of Stone from the Hunchback of Norte Dame, having seen her in Six before she has a wonderful comedic bone but it was so lovely to see her vulnerable side sprinkled with outstanding vocals. 

Another highlight of the evening was Allie Daniel and Claudia Kariuki performing I Will Never Leave You from Side Show, again, they treated us to stunning vocals with extraordinary storytelling, a very heartwarming performance. 

We were also treated to a performance of Not My Father’s Son from Kinky Boots, sung by Isaac Hesketh. They told the story with impeccable skill and gorgeous vocals. 

These were just some highlights for me, the talent across the board in this show is outstanding and to have all these people perform in one place was a true honour to experience. 

On the whole, even though the talent level was out of this world the lineup of numbers needs some more variety in it. At nights like this it's important to have the ups and downs but what I craved more of was comedy and lighter reliefs. Occasionally the serious stuff got a little long and we needed more light to break it up. 

With very limited time to rehearse and stage this concert, it was very smooth, Carl Mullaney did a fantastic job at hosting the evening and the band sounded gorgeous, led by Musical Director Flynn Sturgeon. My only criticism was the lighting seemed to have a mind of its own, occasionally distracting from the beautiful performances happening in front of us. 

Roles We’ll Never Play is a fantastic night out for any theatre fan and I cannot wait to see them do more shows in the future, this concert is just going to get bigger and I cannot wait to see what they do next. 

Review by Mark Swale 

Rating: ★★★★

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