Kerry Ellis Live
Reviewed on Thursday 3rd September 2015
This week sees West End icon Kerry Ellis return to The Pheasantry on the King's Road in Chelsea for her fifth residency. Performing a variety of old favourites mixed with a few surprises, Ellis - who is currently seven months pregnant with her second child – was on top form and meant serious business.
Known as the first lady of the West End, Ellis opened with a superb rendition of 'Diamonds Are Forever'. She then told the audience about her recent stint in Sweet Charity at Cadogan Hall before belting and growling her way through the musical's most iconic number 'Big Spender'. Ellis broke up the evening nicely with a bunch of different stories. She seemed more at ease on stage than ever and was absolutely hilarious as she cackled away about her ‘baby brain’.
Paying tribute to some of the shows she's starred in, Ellis delighted with renditions 'I'm Not That Girl' and 'Defying Gravity' from Wicked before giving a sublime performance of 'Memory' from Cats. The evening also featured several tracks from Ellis' most recent album, including a tenderly stripped back version of 'The Way We Were' plus 'Alfie' which is now more poignant following the passing of Cilla Black.
My personal highlight was Ellis' rendition of 'Never Never Land' by Scott Alan which I haven't heard her sing for quite some time. The song fits Ellis' voice like a glove, showing off both the beautifully soft and richly powerful sides of her voice.
Later this month Ellis will perform a one-off West End concert with her drama school friend, and fellow West End star, Louise Dearman. Ellis explained that during a recent interview Dearman revealed she used to love it when Ellis performed 'Top Of The World' by The Carpenters. Despite not having sung the number for over twenty years, Ellis decided to feature the song in the show and did a beautiful job.
When Ellis asked if anyone fancied joining her onstage for a sneaky duet, several hands went flying into the air. Three girls ended up joining the star for a group performance of 'For Good'. All three did a tremendous job, particularly young student Georgia Parker who sung with impressive confidence and technique. The evening was broken up by special guest pianist Dominic Anthony Ferris who left many jaws on the ground with his incredibly passionate solo performance.
No Kerry Ellis concert would be complete without a good old Queen song; Ellis ended with a bit of 'Crazy Little Thing Called Love', bringing a fantastic evening to a close. Ellis is a truly unique talent, her voice sounds phenomenal with only a piano (frustratingly I didn't catch the MD's name, but he did an absolutely stellar job).
Ellis was on fire throughout, providing yet another evening of musical bliss. If you haven't seen one of Ellis' Pheasantry shows you really must snap up any remaining tickets for the final couple of performances this week.
Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)
Kerry Ellis performs at The Pheasantry on Friday 4th and Saturday 5th September 2015. Please visit www.pizzaexpresslive.com for information and tickets.