Wednesday, 2 March 2022

REVIEW: The West End in One Night by One Night Records with The Theatre Cafe

After experiencing the devastating impact which the theatre industry faced throughout and post lockdown, it only seems necessary for art to be celebrated in such an immersive and positive context. 

‘One Night Records’ is an underground maze that caters to live music festivals, ranging from rock’n’ roll to jazz. In this case, ‘West end in one night’ presented an excellent mixture of material within the musical theatre genre. We witnessed beautiful performances from established industry professionals such as Laura Pick (Wicked, Anyone Can Whistle) and Vanessa Fisher (Bring it On, Follies), but it was refreshing to hear equally spell-bounding vocals from fresh and hungry drama school graduates. 

The venue hosts five different stages, which in this case employed a variety of different material and standards. Upon entrance, we were quickly transported into the ‘Jump City Room’ for the first set of the evening. Though in places the vocals were fairly underwhelming, Musical Director Honor Halford- Macleod talents and versatility as a pianist were immaculate. Even though she was faced away with her back to the performers (something which should be changed going forward), and the crowd were very chatty, her focus and accuracy in her playing was brilliant. My personal highlight of this set was Rose Galbraith’s rendition of ‘Taylor the Latte Boy’ which really lent itself to her beautiful clear tone and agile riffs and runs. 

Meanwhile, ‘The Jazz Bar’ was filled with people hyped up and ready to listen to the headlining Laura Pick. The hype was worth it; her set was seamless and she performed a clever mix of the crowds favourite mainstream show tunes. Opening with the famous ‘Don’t rain on my parade’, her clean and stunning vocals filled the main stage, proving that she is worthy of her leading lady title. 

I was fortunate enough to catch part of a gorgeous stripped back set in ‘The River Railroad’. The mature vocals and performance skills of Liv Sherry, Lauren Conroy and Jo Stephenson created a very honest and intimate atmosphere; extra impressive that all three have newly graduated from Mountview Academy of Performing Arts. These three ladies sung a variety of arrangements, made particularly touching by Stephenson’s ability as an actor-musician; soft, gentle and gorgeous vocals while accompanying her two counterparts on either guitar or keyboard. There was a particularly heart-warming rendition of an arrangement of Jodi Mitchells famous ‘Both Sides Now’, with Stephenson’s acoustic guitar skill and Sherry’s enchanting and raw performance skills. These three ladies were later joined by Jacob Young and Jack Powell, who’s 5-part harmony arrangement of ‘Songs of a New World’ ended up being my personal highlight of the evening. It was great to see so many new graduates appearing so mature and professional in this setting. 

This wonderful evening was all thanks to the wonderful work of the producer at One Night Records: Phoebe Stringer. It was so refreshing to see so many different performers in one place, and I’m very excited to see what other opportunities these nights of musical theatre can bring. 

Review by Isabella Kirkpatrick

Rating: ★★★★

Seat: N/A | Price of Ticket: £25
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