Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Review: Cynthia Erivo's 'Hear My Soul' debut solo concert at the Kings Place



Cynthia Erivo: Hear My Soul
Kings Place
Reviewed on Monday 9th March 2015
★★★★★

Last night Cynthia Erivo made her solo concert debut with an extremely personal show named Hear My Soul at the Kings Place, leaving me well and truly speechless.

Many know Erivo for her show-stopping performances in various productions, but may not realise she is also a stunning songwriter and artist in her own right. The first act was dominated by Erivo's self-penned material which is written from the heart. You can't help but understand every lyric and feel every note as Erivo invites you in, something which few songwriters and singers have the power to do.

The most personal number was 'Fly Before You Fall' which Erivo wrote for two of her loved ones. Emotions were high and I think 'Fly Before You Fall' has the power to speak to anyone, and let's hope Erivo doesn't make us wait too long for a studio version to be released. What I think makes Erivo so unique is her varied influences. There is nothing theatrical about her writing style; however, her training and ability to tell a story through song shines through.

Erivo invited her talented partner Dean John-Wilson to the stage to perform a duet of John Legend's 'All Of Me'. Erivo and John-Wilson share an unbreakable connection, and together their voices create magic. Erivo made her mark with 'One Night Only' from Dreamgirls and let rip during 'Masterpiece' by Jazmine Sullivan.

The second half was packed with stand out track after stand out track. Erivo showed some sass with her rendition of Whitney's 'I Wanna Dance With Somebody', but it was Aretha's 'Aint No Way' which brought the audience to their feet for the evening's first standing ovation. She hit the craziest of notes, not holding back one bit.

There is no song Erivo can't do justice - she can belt her heart out, but can also hold back and seduce an audience with her beautifully soft vocal tones, as showcased during her performance of 'Over The Rainbow' from The Wizard of Oz. The concentration in the room was unbreakable; when Erivo sings it feels like time freezes.

Under the direction of Tom Deering, the band and backing singers were terrific. You could feel the all-important trust shared between Deering and Erivo. As the evening drew to a close Erivo treated us to an a cappella rendition of a song she had written especially for the event entitled 'Thankful'. It was touches like this that made the evening so personal for each and every person in attendance. 

Hear My Soul ended with the most jaw-droppingly passionate and fierce rendition of 'And I Am Telling You' from Dreamgirls. Erivo raised her own bar and proved she has the vocal talents of a global megastar. Once again the audience jumped to their feet, leaving Erivo with no other option than to return to the stage for an encore of 'I'm Here' from The Color Purple. Emotions were high both onstage and off, but Erivo fought through and sang for her life.

It's not every day someone like Cynthia Erivo comes along, and what's so exciting is that as she continues with her solo concert work she will only get better and better. Cynthia Erivo is not only a goddess of musical theatre, but she is also an artist with so much to offer... watch out world!

Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)

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