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  • REVIEW | Musicals in Concert – Leading Ladies | Birmingham Symphony Hall

REVIEW | Musicals in Concert – Leading Ladies | Birmingham Symphony Hall

When the joy of Christmas is over, the Birmingham Symphony Hall bring the magic of musical theatre to Birmingham for their annual musical theatre concert featuring top West End Stars. This year it’s all about the girls, as leading ladies Kerry Ellis, Louise Dearman, Linzi Hateley and Victoria Hamilton-Barritt take to the stage to perform some of the best-known musical theatre songs.

The exceptional performance is part of Raymond Gubbay’s Christmas season and the London Concert Orchestra provide fantastic and diverse orchestrations to a variety of musical theatre hits. Opening the show with Bernstein’s West Side Story and the popular ensemble number America, the ladies show off their characterisation as they open the show with a bang.

Kerry Ellis and her remarkable vocals return this year to perform more of her famous belters. After playing Elphaba in Wicked in both the West End and Broadway, her voice is undeniably faultless. Her striking rendition of Defying Gravity appears effortless and she glides through the powerful notes and riffs. Ellis has a natural stage presence that is captivating to watch as she displays her stellar vocals in Memory and Don’t Rain On My Parade. After originating the role of Meat in We Will Rock You, No One But You has become her signature number and her performance is charged with emotion.

Born and bred Brummie turned Broadway star, Linzi Hateley is a musical theatre legend and that is evident in her tremendous performance. Starring in countless musicals including Oliver, Les Miserables, Mamma Mia, Chicago and even originating the role of Carrie in Carrie the Musical on Broadway, Hateley is a true superstar. Her rich vocals sound sublime as she performs A Little Night Music’s Send In The Clowns, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s I Don’t Know How To Love Him and Blood Brothers’ Tell Me It’s Not True.

Performing in some of the more contemporary and unique musical theatre productions in the UK, Victoria Hamilton-Barritt recently starred in The Other Palace’s The Wild Party in the role of Kate and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s phenomenon In The Heights as Daniela. Her voice is bursting with character as her deeper, jazzy tones are full of flavour as she gives a performance full of sass and sauciness in numbers such as Cabarét’s Maybe This Time, As Long As He Needs Me and her duet of RENT’s Take Me Or Leave Me with Kerry Ellis is excellently feisty.

Known for playing both Elphaba and Glinda in the smash-hit, multi-award winning musical Wicked, Louise Dearman’s stellar vocals are showcased through her astonishing performance. Whether it’s the highly poignant Andrew Lloyd Webber numbers Don’t Cry For Me Argentina or As If We Never Said Goodbye or the expressive Trolley Song sung with character and flair – Louise proves she can quite literally do it all. Her vocal range is exquisite and her presence is enthralling.

The mixture of solo numbers from musicals spanning the decades and group songs keep a superb pace throughout the show. Ending the first act with a fiery Chicago medley, these women are full of vigor and strength in their character and their vocals blend beautifully. This is mirrored in the final song You’ll Never Walk Alone from Carousel, the four-part harmony combined with the acoustics of the Symphony Hall is a real goosebump moment as the ladies sing magnificently.

★★★★

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