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Blog 51

Updated: Jul 4, 2020

On Monday, I returned to watch Waitress, for what might probably be the third and final time.

I first saw this production in March last year, on opening night with Katharine McPhee playing Jenna. I then saw it again last May when Lucie Jones made her first appearance as Jenna before taking over the role. It was then announced that the show will close in July, after 17 months. Despite a loyal fan base and numerous attempts to boost ticket sales with celebrity castings that included Ashley Roberts, Blake Harrison and Joe Sugg.

Having originally opened on Broadway in 2016, Waitress was nominated for four Tonys, and in 2017 was nominated for a Grammy. Independently, writer Sara Bareilles has been nominated for seven Grammys, having finally won one this month.

Sara’s music is the undoubtedly the driving force behind Waitress. Her songs are stunning, and have become renowned and recognised and incredibly popular. I can’t begin to count the amount of times I have heard her songs covered at various concerts and cabarets.

Sara herself played Jenna in Waitress on Broadway in 2017 before returning for its third anniversary last January opposite Gavin Creel.

The show then closed this January after four years on Broadway and Sara and Gavin have now come to London to appear in Waitress in the West End for six weeks.

Sara has spoken recently about how much this show means to her, which I imagine was part of her decision to join the London production before it closes here too.

Waitress is currently touring America for the second time. It has also been announced that Waitress will open this September in The Netherlands with Willemijn Verkaik playing Jenna, as well as plans to open in Australia. Despite already opening and closing in Manila and Buenos Aires. There are no announced plans for Waitress to tour the UK, although I anticipate that it will.

I will be honest, having seen Waitress twice, I had no strong desire to see it again. However my opinion changed when I saw Sara Bareilles give an incredible and very moving performance of ‘She Used To Be Mine’ from Waitress on The Graham Norton

Show. It was arguably the best rendition of the song that I have ever heard, and this was with her performing it out of the context of the show.

Based on that performance alone, I decided I needed to see this show again, with Sara in it.

It also helped that I have a long standing crush on Gavin Creel who I first saw in The Book of Mormon.

On top of this, the adorable Evelyn Hoskins was making her debut as Dawn. The part that she originally auditioned for along with Laura Baldwin who won the role over her.

Both are brilliant actresses and are both perfectly right to play Dawn, so it’s incredibly exciting that they have now both had the chance to.

As well as this I was excited to see the brilliant and hilarious Joel Montague who joined the cast last year and the magnificent

Marisha Wallace who has returned to the show.

The rest of the cast consisted of Tamlyn Henderson. Andrew Boyer. Richard Taylor Woods. Monique Ashe-Palmer. Piers Bate. Lucia DeWan. Olivia Moore. Ben Morris. Nathaniel Morrison. Rosemary Nkrumah. Laura Selwood.

As I checked my coat and bag in, I bought a programme and said hello to a few people I knew who were also there to watch Sara, Gavin and Evelyn’s first show.

Perry O’Bree who is a huge fan of the show was beside himself with excitement. I also had to restrain him from purchasing half of the merchandise stand.

I continued to reserve judgement about the show, as I settled in to my seat with a completely open mind ready to watch it again, and I have to say, despite earlier reservations this performance won me over.

Whether there was something magical about watching Sara embody the character with the words that she had written for her, there was something truly authentic and brilliant about her performance.

Not only is she an accomplished singer, her acting more than anything was astounding. Sara gave context to every line she delivered elevating the entire show.

There are still moments where the musical escapades into bad American sitcom territory, but I’ll be honest part of my inability to appreciate the show when I originally saw it was down to the characterisation of Jenna. I just didn’t get the premise that she was a married women having an affair with her doctor who was married while her best friend was having an affair with her boss who is also married, and we’re meant to root for these characters? There’s just a lot of adultery going on there.

However, Sara’s depiction of Jenna manages to bring out a deeper understanding of her character, and it all became a lot clearer. We’re looking at a character challenging their flaws and their situation, and it all made a lot more sense.

Gavin gave an endearing performance, although was a little camp, whether Jenna would have really fallen for him? I’m not sure. But his voice is superb, and Gavin’s connection with Sara was incredible.

Elsewhere, Joel Montague was brilliant and hilarious, even managing to incorporate some Irish dance. He worked perfectly along side Evelyn who was a joy to watch as Dawn, capturing the character’s kooky side perfectly.

All in all, this was probably the best incarnation of this show that I have seen. Not to discredit any actors who I have seen in these roles before, but as an all round performance, this combination delivers.

If you haven’t seen the show before, now is the time to, and if you have seen it you’ll probably appreciate revisiting it with this cast while you can before the show finally closes on 4th July.

On Tuesday, I made my annual trip to the O2 with my friend Chloe to watch the National TV Awards.

Chloe and I first met ten years ago when we filmed The Kings Speech together. It was the movie I made after I left a career working in TV to work in film. I was working at the BBC at the time and took the chance to work on the final two Harry Potter films. After this I continued to work in front of the camera, and ended up training at Arts Ed, and working in theatre.

This year was the 25th NTA awards and to mark ten years since I left TV for film, I wore my Gryffindor tie from Harry Potter.

Although theatre is now my life, and I don’t watch as much TV as I used to, I still have fond memories of working in TV, and I was obsessed with TV when I was growing up. I love coming to the NTAs each year, as with any award ceremonies, I enjoy celebrating the achievements of others and reflecting on them.

Plus there is alway a huge after party, and despite cutting back on alcohol and carbs since the New Year, I allowed myself a cheat day so that I could indulge in a few glasses of champagne and some canapés.

Although mainly TV stars, it was nice to bump into a few theatre friends at the party, including Vinegar Stokes who went from Everybody’s Talking About Jamie to Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK, and will be part of the cast of Eurobeat at the Turbine Theatre. I also chatted to Baga Chipz who was a finalist in Drag Race. I also chatted to Ashley Vallance who is an old friend that trained as an actor before becoming an agent, he is now one of the company directors for InterTalent. It was also nice to see Luke Fetherstone who was one of the dancers during the Pet Shop Boys performance, and I also got to chat to Genesis Lynea, who I first met when she was studying at Arts Ed, she then went on to become one of the original Queens in Six, and is now in Casualty. Genesis looked stunning in a gorgeous red suit.

In previous years Chloe and I have gotten incredibly drunk at the NTAs, however this year, we were moderately well behaved, and I actually managed to get home in one piece. It was a really lovely evening, and is one that I look forward to each year. It also makes me miss working in TV, although I do and always will love theatre.

On Wednesday, I was invited to watch Tarot at the Vaults Festival.

Sold to me as Live Tarot reading meets mesmeric contemporary circus. This reported “Hit” from Edinburgh which I didn’t catch or even hear about while I was there sounds like it could fit perfectly within the dark ambience of the Vaults. Unfortunately it turned out to be a messy hodgepodge of ideas, than unravelled at the seams.

Presented by ‘The Feathers of Daedalus’ a collective who claim to defy genre, style and gender as an emerging contemporary circus.

Director and producer Joanna Vymeris clearly had a vision, when as she explains that she was inspired by a Tarot reading that for her conjured up the idea to bring tarot characters to life visually by circus performers and underscored by the alternative grunge band Yoshi. It’s an alluring concept if only it had been executed better.

Helmed by Ruby Wednesday, who the PR company market as an enchanting drag artist, and without getting into the murky territories of arguing over what defines drag. Having known of Ruby, I’m not even sure they would label themselves as a drag artist. If anything Ruby defies labels and being boxed in. In a very binary assessment, ascetically what you have is a non binary person with male physicality who wears make up and heels. Ru Paul, might argue this is not drag.

None the less Ruby makes an impact and is certainly a striking compere to the proceedings, and is generally quite a warm and inviting host, despite blatant attempts it seems at points to be a bit edgy. Ruby shrieks and tries to scare in a benign attempt it feels to make you feel uncomfortable or unsettled. There are moments when Ruby is unscripted where their natural dry wit and humour comes through that is far more attractive and brilliant, the scripted and structured parts of Ruby’s performance feel contrived and conflicting.

Ruby also seems very knowledgable about Tarot, which is definitely an asset. Whether this is something Ruby has learned specifically for this show, or something that Ruby has always been interested and experienced in, or whether Ruby was simply blagging it all. Either way it convinced.

The format fails when Ruby on two occasions invites an ‘unsuspecting volunteer from the audience’ to have their Tarot read from a small table at the centre of the stage surrounded by the audience. This faltered a little, when Ruby acknowledged that they knew one of the participants, as they worked together at their day job. A slight lapse of judgement to point this out. The Tarot readings simply lacked any dramatic tension or purpose, if anything I had little to no interest in hearing the two volunteers learn their Tarot. Plus the seating configuration prevented any of the audience from seeing the cards or anything that was happening including their facial expressions. The overriding difficulty also, was that despite Ruby expertly guiding us through the cards and their depictions, I felt as an audience I needed a greater understanding of Tarot for this to impact me.

Meanwhile, jarringly the acrobatic cast consisting of Imogen Huzel, Josh Frazer, Lauren Jamieson and Tessa Blackman performed basic circus acts on the stage. Without discrediting the core stabilities and strengths of these four acrobats, they definitely had strong capabilities and to credit them, their abilities to perform these stunts within the confines of such a small space was commendable. However, the only way I can reasonably sum up their routines, by comparison to over circus and acrobatic routines I have seen, was basic.

As an audience it became unclear what we were meant to be watching, the Tarot reading, or the circus acts, as they began to disperse into two separate entities, without any correlation.

Along with this, the kooky four piece band provided what might have been an experimental or improvised score. There seemed to be some structure within it, but ultimately it just sounded chaotic and discordant. Comprising of talented musicians, Ben Smith, Dougal Caston, Boris Thompson-Roylance, and George Freeman they switched between a variety of instruments and technologies to distort and manipulate the sounds.

Without internally being rude, the lead singer reminded me of the actor Bobcat Goldthwait from Police Academy. If you know who I mean, you’ll know what I mean.

There was also an untimely and unfortunate moment where his keyboard stand collapsed and all his equipment crashed to the floor. Although he covered it well, and the stage manager was quick to jump on to the stage to help reassemble the stands and equipment, it certainly provided an unintentional distraction to what was happening on the stage, and as much as I tried not to, I then couldn’t keep my eyes off the keyboard stand that balanced precariously for the rest of the show.

Ruby then emerged as a finale to the show, bare chested and fire breathing. Again, alike the circus acts, it was undoubtedly a skill, but as a performance piece next to other more impressing feats I have seen in circus shows, it was frankly just underwhelming.

The show ran for a limited time until 1st February.

As a cabaret artist and skilled vocalist, and alluringly attractive person, I would watch Ruby again in a show without such a naff concept binding it. As for the band though, I won’t be rushing to download their album. And as for tarot, I left knowing and understanding as much about it as I came to the show with.

On Thursday I was invited to watch Tube at the Lion and Unicorn.

Written by Joe Kerry, an incredibly lovely guy who I met last year when he performed as part of of the Unplugged at the Crazy Coq showcase of new writing.

Produced by Colour and Light Productions, I didn’t know what to expect from Tube.

I was met by a warm welcome from David Brady the artistic director of the Lion and the Unicorn theatre, a cute black box theatre above a pub near Kentish Town, and was handed a programme that was ingeniously designed and printed to look like an actual London Underground tube map.

The set was minimal but clear, resembling a London Underground carriage and an effective soundscape played centring you in to it.

Coincidentally, it reminded me of when I was studying at Arts Ed. One term, we were tasked with the exercise of creating within small groups a devised piece of theatre. My group decided to create an immersive story, called Love On The Line where the actors were sat amongst the audience within what we had set up as an underground carriage. I had then recorded the sound of an actually full tube journey which we played into the scene.

Tube began its development at the Southwalk Playhouse in May 2018 and won the Stockwell Playhouse Bursary Prize for Writing at the 34th One Act Festival later that year.

In Tube we are introduced to two characters played by Michaela Carberry and George Damms. Both graduates from Mountview. I had actually met George before who was a friend’s flatmate. They play two strangers who sit next to each other on an empty tube carriage.

Now, my rational head, immediately alerts to the fact that, as someone who commutes daily on the underground I recognise that people, especially strangers, don’t actually ever, or rarely engage with each other. Tube begins a little unrealistically with the two strangers immediately talking extensively and openly to each other. Although I would have preferred to have seen more of a build to this, it does become more plausible when it’s established that the train has been held between stops, presumedly in a tunnel, in the dark. Although this isn’t clear, neither is the passage of time.

Despite the attention to detail by director Bobby Standley to establish authentically that this is ‘real’ with lengths made by the actors to subtly mimic movement within the carriage, I am beginning to open up to the possibility that this might actually be a distorted reality in which all is not what it might seem. This would certainly allow for the unlikelihood that these strangers would interact with each other in this way, and would definitely amp up the interest.

The dialogue wades straight into the story telling, forgetting at times to reference its setting and situation. These guys are trapped on a tube train, and yet panic, confusion, question aren’t brought in for what feels like an unnatural length of time. Again this leads me to suspect and deduce that the story is not strictly being anchored in real time.

The performances are captivating and sincere and the characters are interesting and engaging enough that I don’t spend too much time worrying about what is real or authentic, and I allow myself to just watch the story play out.

As the play nudges past an hour long, despite maintaining interest, tedium does begin to approach, as the play begins to take some bizarre turns and we begin to wait for some sort of explanation. Whether this comes or not, the ending certainly does deliver an unexpected and welcome shock, that elevates this play into something you certainly come away thinking about.

The play also neatly incorporates music, some of which is original, with George playing the guitar and singing, in character. The songs, written by Joe Kerry are nice and compliment the play well.

As a fan ordinarily of naturalist work, I am certainly open to writing that gently invokes the absurd, and this play certainly managed to create a world that appeared familiar at first yet intriguingly off-piste.

It was only on until Until 2nd February, but I could definitely see this play working well with some further development and a greater use of the soundscape and lighting to anchor the scenes and provoke and explore the changes and distortions as they occur.

What I love the most about this work is that it is only Joe’s first play, and he is already pushing boundaries and experimenting conceptually. It seems he is also working with people he knows and studied with, collaborating and providing a platform for them too, and through Colour and Light Productions their intention is to grow their skills and develop their work. It’s a brilliant initiative that I firmly support.

On Friday afternoon, I was at the Other Palace, again by invitation of Lambert and Jackson Productions, but this time not for a cabaret. This time was for the workshop presentation of a new musical called The Throwaways.

As well as producing concerts and cabarets, Lambert and Jackson Productions are brilliantly invested in developing new writing and new work.

For this, they are working with director Adam Lenson who is also heavily invested in developing new writing and musical theatre through his own company ALP and the concert events Signal that regularly showcase new work.

It was during one of these events that Adam championed and encouraged writer Dylan Wynford to continue to develop The Throwaways.

Dylan is a performer who trained at Mountview. He previously wrote and showcased a musical called Bright Young Things at the Other Palace in 2017, The Lost Ones in 2018 and has written Catatonic Matt with Joe Kerry.

Bright Young Things was a story about six twenty-somethings trying to find their place in the world, and allowing for it being Dylan’s first work, it was problematic.

Essentially it was very generic and too niche, and I remember watching it thinking, I honestly wouldn’t know where in the market there is a place for this story.

The Finborough Theatre in particular point out clearly on their website that they do not receive work that is about “twenty-something’s” they add ‘We do not programme plays about the urban middle-class, preoccupied with relationships or emotional problems.’

The Finborough Theatre might seem radically upfront about this, but it is an unwritten but understand rule of most theatres who simply won’t look at work of this nature.

It does then leave the predicament. They say as a writer, write what you know. Dylan simply did just that, wrote about events inspired by his own experience as a twenty-something old man, having moved to and living in a London chasing his dream.

In The Throwaways, Meghan is struggling after moving to London to follow her dreams.

Ok. So it would seem Dylan is still writing about what he knows. It’s another story about the pressures of conforming to society. Within this, we meet a group of people who come together to play ‘Batoru’ a children’s card game.

In an introduction he made before the presentation, Dylan told the audience, unsurprisingly that as a child he enjoyed playing card games.

On the surface The Throwaways might not appear a huge departure from Dylan’s work or own experiences, however I do think his writing has evolved and he certainly appears to have been broadening his field of story telling.

Although the circumstances in which Dylan writes still remain clearly specific to his own life, Dylan has managed to draw out themes that are more universal. As example, although not all of us have ever worked in Argos specifically, we have all held jobs at some point in our lives that we have hated, and within that we can relate to the character who hates their job at Argos.

Expanding from this, Dylan has also written richer and more evolved characters. There is a broader representation in The Throwaways whilst he has still written characters that suit and drive the central theme he is wanting to explore, about ‘not fitting in’. Within this, to illustrate this theme, Dylan has written a character that is deaf, and enlisted and worked with actress Sahera Khan.

It’s a brilliant move for inclusion and representation, working directly with a deaf actress to develop and implement the character. It is also a perfect opportunity within this workshop to experiment with how deaf characters can be incorporated in to musicals.

Last year Charlotte Arrowsmith played Vincentia in the Taming of the Shrew, alongside hearing actors who incorporated some signs and gestures from British Sign Language, to help integrate Charlotte who signed entirely. In this instance, as an audience is generally familiar with Shakespare so the production chose not to use and captions.

With The Throwaways being a brand new writing, the team here used visual aids to guide the audience. Sahera delivered all her lines using sign language, and these were captioned and projected on to the wall behind her. With it being a musical, for the choral numbers Sahera signed along whilst the others sang, and for the song assigned and written to Sahera’s character, her co star Courtney Stapleton sang and translated as Sahera acted out the song with sign language.

Joining Sahara Khan and Courtney Stapleton the cast comprised of Siobhan O’Driscoll. Michael Hamway. Francesca Forristal. Andrew Langtree. Lawrence Smith and Lizzie Bea. All were very good and suitably cast.

It always impresses me with these workshops how well the actors pull everything together. With minimal rehearsal time, and in most cases only getting to actually perform it once or twice, actors have to really trust and use their own instincts and make bold choices, and although guided expertly by director Adam Lenson, this team of actors worked really well with accomplished performances from all.

Lizzie who will be playing Tracey in this summer’s revival of Hairspray sounded incredible, and alongside Lawrence Smith gave a brilliant comic pairing as commentators, almost mirroring Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins in the Pitch Perfect movies.

Francesca Forristal gave a brilliant performance as one of the disgruntled teens, and Siobhan O’Driscoll lead the cast and story brilliantly.

The band was made up of Evan McCabe and Olivia Wormald who were also responsible for the musical arrangements along with Lucinda Coyle. Anemia Gilmour. Barnaby Taylor and Dylan played guitar.

As far as Dylan’s writing goes, although improved, there was still a lot of exposition and it felt that a lot of things were unnecessarily spelt out and explained rather than trusting the audience to understand the intention and meaning. However his music was and is brilliant. Dylan is a superb song writer, I perhaps feel though he should maybe look at collaborating with a book writer.

On Friday, I returned to the Old Vic, to watch Rough for Theatre II and Endgame.

It was a return also for Daniel Radcliffe who last performed at the Old Vic in Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead. Although for ever in the shadow of playing Harry Potter, Daniel commendably continues to balance his work between film and stage, and does seem to consider carefully the work he choses.

I enjoyed Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead and thought he was very suitable to dark comedy, and he certainly proves himself as a capable stage actor.

Joining him was the legendary and brilliant Alan Cumming whose CV is endless. The pair are joined for the second of this double bill by Jane Horrocks and Karl Johnson who both return to the Old Vic again since appearing in King lear.

Both Rough for Theatre II and Endgame are directed by Richard Jones and written by Samuel Beckett whose back catalogue is also extensive. The Irish writer who passed away in 1989. Rough for Theatre II was originally published prior to this in 1976 although is believed to have been written around 1960, and was originated published in French. It has rarely been produced since, and has no connection to Rough for Theatre I.

Endgame is another one act play, also originally written and performed in French, in 1957 at the Royal Court Theatre, it was the follow up to Waiting for Godot, and is widely regarded to be amongst Beckett’s best works.

By way of connection co star to Daniel in Harry Potter, Michael Gambon appeared in a filmed version of Endgame in 2000, and has had other notable productions with actors including Mark Rylance and Miriam Margolyes, also of Harry Potter.

Although a classic, I simply found both pieces abysmal and pointless. I honestly did not understand what I was watching, or why. Aside from these fine characters, all whom commit fully to their characters, I found nothing redeeming about this production, and if anything it actually appals me that work of this calibre can draw in sold out audiences, when (in my opinion) there is so much greater and more necessary work being made and not seen, or seen by few.

Following on from his stage performance in The Cripple of Inishmaan, Daniel gives an impressive physical performance, and both he and Alan Cumming have impeccable timing, but the writing did nothing for me, and I came away feeling absolutely nothing.

I perhaps don’t understand Samuel Beckett’s work enough to compare or evaluate this production by comparison, but as an introduction to his work, it won’t have me rushing to see any more of it.

Reviewers will give it four stars, and it might well deserve them by their standards. But ultimately, did I enjoy this production, and would I recommend it? I can only say no.

On Saturday I resisted the wonderful world of Wicked.

I take no shame in admitting that Wicked is one of my long time standing favourite musicals, and I had been meaning to watch the show again ever since Alistair Brammer took over the role of Fiyero last year.

Alistair is an old friend of mine, who I first met when we both worked on the Les Miserables movie, he then went on to star in the West End and on broadway in Miss Saigon, and recently appeared in Casualty. I was excited to hear as well as recently becoming a father, that Alistair was coming back to theatre, and to Wicked.

As well as this another old friend Nicholas McLean is now playing Boq. I have also known Nick for several years, even before he began his training at Mountview, and have been very proud to follow his career progression seeing him in The Book of Mormon and recently in Avenue Q. For Nick, Wicked is an absolute dream come true for him, and I was incredibly excited to see him in it.

However, despite this, the main reason I wanted to come to see Wicked at this time was to be able to catch Rebecca Gilliland playing Elphaba. Following Nikki Bentley’s decision to step down from the role, it has meant that Rebecca as one of the understudies has now had a few extra opportunities to go on.

I first met Rebecca when she was part of a small production at Above the Arts, called Just Another Love Story in 2018, and it is incredible to see someone you know, go from a tiny off West End to playing easily one of the most coveted female leads in musical theatre.

And what can I say, Rebecca was brilliant. I was lucky enough to grab a seat in the stalls, and so was sat metres away from them all, and I loved every minute of it.

Rebecca is a formidable singer, which you need to be to play Elphaba but she is also a brilliant actress, and was simply perfect. Nick too was awesome as Boq, and Alistair actually caught me off guard.

Generally actors talk about being in Wicked as being quite restrictive. There are certain contrived ways that the characters are blocked and positioned, and very little scope for the actors to play with the characters or do anything other than what they are prescribed to do. Within this, Fiyero is generally played as a bit vacant, his character is acknowledge as shallow, and many actors have played this with an air of stupidity. However, Alistair is doing something quite different, and has managed to almost reinvent Fiyero, playing him in a completely different way that I have ever seen done before. It’s testament to Alistair as an actor and is quite refreshing.

Supporting them, the brilliant Kim Ismay is easily one of the best Madame Morrible’s that I have seen and the entire company are superb.

On this night it consisted of Helen Woolf playing Glinda . Natasha Ferguson. Lucie Horsfall. Kerry Enright. Simeon Truby. Andy Hockley. Tonye Scott-Obene. Michael Colbourne. Lewis Easter. Dickie Wood. Scott Sutcliffe. Carl Man. Meg Astin. ‪Libby Watts. ‪Grant Thresh. Bex Botterill. ‪Stuart Maciver. Chanelle Anthony. Nicole Lupino. Maggie Lynne. Bryony Whitfield. Chiarina Woodall. Nolan Edwards and Tom Woollaston.

Wicked simply is a magical show, and is certainly a treat to watch. If only because tickets are quite expensive, as is the merchandise, drinks and souvenir programme that still drove popular with the strong fan based audience who keep coming back for more.

With Prince of Egypt, opening this week and Rags currently on at the park theatre with a cast album on its way, there is no disputing the brilliance of Stephen Schwartz.

On Sunday I was at Jack Solomons to watch an evening with Kayleigh McKnight produced by Ryca Creative.

Kayleigh McKnight is an exceptional vocalist, who has been in shows such as Tina, Jesus Christ Superstar, Les Miserables and most recently toured with Hugh Jackman. Her voice is ridiculous.

I actually first met her when she was performing in panto in King’s Lynn with my ex boyfriend Marc.

As well as being an incredible vocalist, Kayleigh also writes her own music which is also brilliant.

Jack Solomon’s a relatively new venue with Ryan Carter now beginning to programmes evenings like this as intimate concerts, supported by an incredible band lead by James Taylor with Matt Billups and Adam Smith.

Kayleigh was also supported by backing singers Kellie Gnauck. Perola Congo who are formidable in their own rights. She also brought out special guests Evie Rose Lane, Jessica Daley, Jodie Steele. It really made for an evening of Girl Power, as each of these performers are superb.

Kayleigh seemed at ease and confidently helmed the evening, mixing things up with new arrangements of classic songs, and getting amongst the audience in the perfect set up that Jack Solomon’s provides.

Opening the show with the brilliant Into the Unknown from Frozen 2, and closing with This is Me from The Greatest Showman, Kayleigh made a point of trying to avoid singing anything that she had done before. Her music taste is solid, and her voice allows her to effortlessly switch between musical theatre standards and pop songs. Kayleigh has a voice and the swag to easily become a world class recording artist. Her own songs, which she sang two of were really really good.

Kayleigh made the entire evening fun, encouraging the audience to join in a drinking game, and hilariously improvising a song based on quotes given to her from people’s experiences with dating apps. My favourite part was when Kayleigh delivered a medley of songs celebrating being a single woman. She honestly sounded amazing.

The evening was sold out, and the room was full of such supportive people that really lifted the whole evening in to one of the best cabaret/concerts I have ever been to.

As a producer Ryan is brilliant, and smoothly runs the evening without hitch.

Here are a few videos I filmed during the evening:

Into the Unknown from Frozen 2

The Life of the Party from The Wild Party.

Kayleigh McKnight and Evie Rose Lane. One Last Time / Breathin by Ariana Grande.

Kayleigh McKnight and Jodie Steele. Wicked Medley.

Kayleigh McKnight and Jessica Daley. Tell Him. Celine Dion. Barbra Streisand.

Kayleigh McKnight with Kellie Gnauck and Perola Congo. A Soft Place to Land from Waitress.

The accompanying video for this week’s journal can be found on my YouTube channel here:

And the audio version can be found as a podcast here:

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