Reviewer: Olivia Mitchell
After their Cadogan Hall debut, Lambert Jackson Productions are back with West End Women, featuring three of the most prominent performers UK theatre has to offer: Rachel John, Lauren Samuels and Celinde Schoenmaker. Taking us on a loose history of women in theatre and melting our faces off with vocal gymnastics, this was a wonderful way to spend a Saturday evening.
Despite the biting wind outside and the snow enveloping the country, Cadogan Hall felt warm and buzzy as it was taken over by powerhouse performance followed by powerhouse performance. The trio opened with the upbeat ‘I Got Rhythm’, before some solo showcases of their voices. A simplistic and heartwarming rendition of ‘Someone To Watch Over Me’ brought stillness to the room thanks to Celinde Schoenmaker. Lauren Samuels kept us in the 20s with a beautiful rendition of ‘Lady, be Good’; whilst Rachel John brought us a decade further forward with the sultry and smooth ‘Summertime’.
The ladies were then joined by the MX Masterclass choir for ‘Blow Gabriel Blow’, followed by a Rodgers and Hammerstein medley of ‘It Might As Well Be Spring’, ‘My Favourite Things’ and ‘If I Loved You’. The choir then gave a vivacious and humourous performance of ‘America’ which brought some real energy to the concert and gave us a glimpse into the future of the West End.
Also giving us the inside scoop on ‘Names To Remember’ were the wonderful competition winners who performed throughout the concert. Three became six as act two opened with the merry murderesses in the ‘Cell Block Tango’, before Brady Isaacs Pearce gave a spine tingling performance of ‘A Piece of Sky’. I’ve said before that Brady is one to watch out for and her continually more brilliant performances are just evidence of that. Watch out West End! Fourteen year old Talia Robens was equally as powerful with ‘Everything I Know’, which she performed with effortless grace.
West End Women presented music from 1930 all the way to 2017 and showed just how timeless the songs and stories are. Every performance was a faultless delight but some highlights among the highlights included Lauren’s gloriously clear renditions of ‘Maybe This Time’ and ‘Never Enough’; Celinde’s ‘Think of Me’ and Rachel’s ‘I Never Knew His Name’ (Bring Brooklyn to the West End now please). All three women gave vocal masterclasses as their technique and power provided the backbone to the entire night. Whilst each powerhouse brings something individual to the table, the trio also work gloriously together and their clear as glass voices ring out with pure sincerity and strength in the acoustically great space of Cadogan Hall.
Alongside the fantastic musicians (expertly led by Adam Hoskins) this was a really great night which reminded me of why the music part of musical theatre is so special and moving. For a masterclass in technique, go see these ladies in their future endeavours.