An Evening With Jodie Jacobs
Chapel of St Barnabas
Reviewed on Thursday 18th February 2016
Last night West End actress Jodie Jacobs made a rare solo concert appearance at the stunning Chapel of St Barnabas. Whilst the set list was perfection, it was Jacobs' between song speeches that brought the house down. She is an absolute dream.
It makes a nice change to visit somewhere different for a concert - the venue is beautiful. As the Chapel is extremely intimate, Jacobs was able to perform without amplification, to be so up close and personal to such a talented vocalist was a total treat.
Entering from the back of the Chapel whilst belting out 'Here I Am' from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Jacobs immediately created a fun, personal atmosphere. The length of the never ending applause after the first number showed just how overdue the solo show was - but it was certainly worth the wait.
Despite admitting to being incredibly nervous and not eating anything all day, Jacobs' vocals were on point all evening as she hit big note after big note. It's refreshing to see a performer being so honest and straight talking with an audience - she made each and every person feel as if they were her best friend.
The majority of the material was musical theatre; but rather than going for the obvious, Jacobs brought together all sorts of different songs - I loved some of the interesting choices. I couldn't believe it when Jacobs sang several of my current favourite songs. Paying tribute to Broadway, Jacobs gave an entrancing rendition of 'She Used to Be Mine' from Sara Bareilles' musical Waitress (if you haven't heard the song you must download it immediately) and later oozed her vocals over 'Right Hand Man' from the hilarious Something Rotten.
Special guest Evelyn Hoskins continued the Broadway theme with her charming performance of 'Ring of Keys' from Fun Home before later joining Jacobs for a duet of Scott Alan's 'Home'. Jacobs introduced her second guest Kim Criswell as her idol; together they sang 'There's Nothing I Wouldn't Do' by Zina Goldrich and Scott Coulter - a perfect song choice. For her solo number Criswell sang the most stunningly crystal clear rendition of 'Love Who You Love' from A Man of No Importance, reminding us why she is worthy of her legendary status.
Jacobs, whose most recent credits include Paulette in Legally Blonde and Regina in Rock of Ages, excelled during character driven song 'Ring Them Bells' and dug out some forgotten gems including a cut number from When Midnight Strikes and the most beautiful anti-love song by Ray Jessel. Hilariously the lyrics to Craig Adams' 'Lost In Translations' were adapted slightly to make it Chapel friendly.
The highlight of my night was when Jacobs performed 'Making Good' which Stephen Swartz originally wrote for Wicked before it was replaced with 'The Wizard and I'. The number fits Jacobs voice like a glove - she aced it, "That song was cut from Wicked, as was I" Jacobs joked afterwards.
'Waiting for the Music to Begin' from The Witches of Eastwick showed off a little bit of Jacobs' impressive soprano range which I have never heard before. As the evening drew to a close, Jacobs united with Hoskins and Criswell to perform 'Unsuspecting Hearts' from Carrie (all three starred in the musical's UK premiere last year) with tremendous power.
For Jacobs' final number she sang 'As Long As He Needs Me' from Oliver!. It was an interesting choice as for the duration of the show Jacobs avoided big classic musical theatre numbers. Jacobs admitted she had never done the song before; fighting back tears it was very clear that she deeply connected to the lyrics - her rendition was mesmerising, with the entire audience jumping to their feet.
Lots of people can stand up, sing twenty songs and belt out lots of big notes... but Jacobs has qualities nobody can teach you. She owned the show - Jacobs is somehow funny, shy, rebellious, endearing, honest and sassy all at the same time. Not only are there so many roles she is perfect for (she was born to play Fanny Brice and her voice is perfectly suited for Carole King) but outside of theatre Jacobs has potential to be huge.
A huge mention must go to MD James Taylor and director Christopher Lane who put the show together with Jacobs. This absolutely has to be the first of many solo concerts from the star; Jodie Jacobs was off the scale - in my eyes she is already a musical theatre legend.
Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)
Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)