Monday, 6 June 2016

Review: Rob Houchen EP launch at Underbelly @ Hoxton Square

Rob Houchen EP Launch
Underbelly @ Hoxton Square
Reviewed on Sunday 5th June 2016

Fresh from completing a two and a half year stint as Marius in the West End production of Les Miserables, Rob Houchen is the latest musical theatre performer to turn his attention to music. As well as rehearsing for Titanic at the Charing Cross Theatre (which opens to press tonight), Houchen has been preparing to release his debut EP entitled RH. To celebrate the EP officially going on sale, last night Houchen played a one-off show at Underbelly @ Hoxton Square.

The evening kicked off with three support acts; first of all Emma Kingston sat at the piano for a stunning rendition of 'She Used To Be Mine' and showed off effortless vocal gymnastics with a performance of BeyoncĂ©'s 'Love On Top'. Amy Kakoura and Matthew Harvey were also on hand to showcase a variety of covers and original material.

After a short interval, Houchen took to the stage and opened with 'Alive' which is the first track on his EP. Showing off vocal tones which are a world away from Les Mis, the audience went crazy as Houchen's voice soared over the big money notes. Throughout he seemed in complete vocal control, throwing in riffs without over-singing. 

We were spoiled with special guests, many of whom have worked alongside Houchen in Les Mis. Powerhouses Rachelle Ann Go and Eva Noblezada both joined Houchen for duets, raising the roof with their electrifying voices. I've seen Noblezada showcase a totally different side of her voice at a couple of these concerts - let's hope she plays some sort of solo show of her own before heading to Broadway with Miss Saigon.

Halfway through the set Houchen said he was going to pay tribute to his roots and perform a bit of musical theatre. It was remarkable to see how his voice immediately transformed - there are different sides to his vocal talents which are all equally as strong. As well as being suited for more classical roles, Houchen could easily pull off the lead in a rock show - he would make a stellar Galileo.

Kingston returned to the stage to perform 'One Second and a Million Miles' from The Bridges of Madison County - one of my absolute favourite songs from my all-time favourite musical. It's a hard song to work out of context, but Kingston and Houchen performed with such emotion and captivated throughout. There  were also duets with Adam Bayjou and Kakoura. The evening seemed to fly by; we were kept on our toes throughout. There were certainly no songs which had just been thrown in as 'fillers'. Performing alongside a stellar band, Houchen took to the stage with natural charm.

Whilst proving himself as a versatile talent, Houchen also showed that he is a musical artist in his own right. All the tracks on his EP have a consistent sound - he performed with musical flair and has one hell of a vocal range. His self penned song 'Warning Signs' was, without doubt, the highlight of the night. Exciting things are surely ahead for Rob Houchen.

Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)

Rob Houchen's EP RH is avaliable now. 
Please visit for further information.

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