Friday, 27 May 2016

Review: Musicals Unsung at the St James Studio

Musicals Unsung
St James Studio
Reviewed on Tuesday 24th May 2016

Hot off the heels of the latest West End Switched Off, earlier this week Parallel Productions returned to the St James Studio with a new concert entitled Musicals Unsung. Often at musical theatre concerts the same old favourites are whipped out again and again, but Musicals Unsung shone the spotlight on musical numbers which were cut from the shows they were written for - many songs featured have been lying in the musical theatre graveyard for years. 

Stuart Clarke kicked off proceedings with a rendition of 'I Could Be In Love With Someone Like You' which Jason Robert Brown wrote for The Last Five Years but had to remove for legal reasons. 'I Could Be In Love With Someone Like You' distinctly sounds like it belongs in The Last Five Years. Clarke aced the number - Jamie is certainly a role he is suited for. 

Later Clarke sang 'Proud Of Your Boy' which was cut from the Aladdin film, but has been reinstated for Disney's musical which is about to open in London. Unlike Jamie, Aladdin may not be Clarke's casting bracket, but he gave a sincere and touching rendition. 'Proud Of Your Boy' has all the ingredients of a Disney classic, it seems such a shame that it was cut from the film.

This was my second time seeing Sally Samad onstage, and she was an absolute revelation. Samad needs her own solo show as she could clearly speak to an audience for hours. She showcased 'All Good Things Must End' from The Little Mermaid and shone with a rendition of 'She'll Be Back' which  Stephen Sondheim wrote for Meryl Streep for the Into The Woods film (there was a tiny slip up but all was forgiven). 

Katie Paine was on hand to showcase a different side of her talents; her rendition of 'Loose Ends' which has been removed from many versions of The Witches of Eastwick, was absolutely stunning. I always feel in safe hands whenever Jeremy Legat takes to a stage; his rendition of 'The Jitterbug' which was cut from The Wizard of Oz was one of the evening's highlights - it's a fantastic song!

Lucie Jones is clearly an Elphaba in the making; she performed 'Making Good' which Stephen Schwartz replaced in Wicked with 'The Wizard and I'. Interestingly 'Making Good' has popped up in various concerts I've seen recently so I've got to know it quite well; however, later Clarke performed another cut Wicked song called 'Which Way Is The Party?' which was replaced with 'Dancing Through Life' when the musical transferred to Broadway. Both 'Making Good' and 'Which Way Is The Party?' are nice songs, but it's strange to imagine them actually featuring in the iconic show. As the evening drew to a close Jones let rip into another Schwartz number, 'Written in Stone' from Mulan. She is a powerhouse!

Musical director and producer Kris Rawlinson did a tremendous job at piecing Musicals Unsung together; some of these songs are forgotten gems which have been hidden for years. Everyone had done their research, and there were little nuggets of info between songs to put everything into context. It made such a nice change to see completely different music being performed - a brilliant concept for a concert featuring a brilliant line-up of West End talent.

Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)

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