Give yourself over to absolute pleasure
Nostalgia always seems to make the past look better than the present; the summers were warmer, the roads quieter, petrol cheaper, wagon wheels (much) bigger so in this cold, wet June I had a real need for something to transport me back into those ‘halcyon’ days.
The formation of Beyond the Barricade was driven by the huge and dramatic growth in popularity of the modern musical theatre of the 70′s and 80′s. Sired in part by Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber, and married to Les Miserables, Miss Saigon and Blood Brothers, the British musical was in it’s dominance; the millions of theatre-goers revelled in the huge stages and thrilling stories, but most of all it was the songs and anthems that provided these shows with the longevity to span wars, governments, economic crises and all cultural changes.
Andy Reiss (look him up on Google, if there’s been a musical hit over the past 30 years you’ll find his name linked to it somewhere) has created a wonderful evening of musical indulgence, and with David Fawcett, Rebecca Vere and Katie Leeming has the perfect cast to bring the very best of the West End to any theatre. The show has been touring longer than Westlife have been out of short trousers (David’s joke, not mine – honest!) and they have formed a real sense of how to keep things fresh and fun.
Unofficially compered by David (and a wicked sense of humour), the show sweeps through a list of shows which I defy anyone to have not heard of or been to see, but it never feels like the cast are just ‘going through the numbers’. Each show is afforded it’s own build up, scene setting and with a very intuitive choice of songs you get the full feeling of the show in a brief but powerful slice.
To give you an idea of what to expect, the shows sampled included: Phantom of the Opera, Jesus Christ Superstar, Godspell, Blood Brothers, Lion King, Chess, Miss Saigon, Les Miserables, We will Rock You, Jersey Boys and Evita (it’s quite humbling to see how many of these are from Lord ALW). What is equally impressive is that the cast have starred in all of these shows as full productions in their own right, they are not just great singers – their list of credits is so big you could believe they must have cloned themselves many times over, but I assure you there are only 4 of them.
This show tours almost constantly but with a huge choice of musicals to draw from, and a brilliant band and crew, they are constantly looking to freshen up the ‘play list’, introduce new numbers and mothball others, so even if you’ve seen this before you are guaranteed to see something different the next time.
I had a wonderful evening, as did Becca who spent the evening whispering “Ooo – I know this one…”
Check out their website for details of the current tour, grab some tickets before it sells out and look forward to an evening of musical paradise.