Reviewed by Louise Watts
Musical theatre is wonderfully creative and a delight to watch. There are so many different shows on currently with more and more being created that the problem is that there are an incredible number of amazing songs and amazing performers that it is hard to choose what to see and even harder to find a show that pulls them all together.
Beyond the Barricade does exactly that. With West End performers, the small cast of 4 is personal and captivating. Established in 1999 it has been wowing audiences ever since! With the 20th anniversary this year, I decided it was about time I went and saw what all the hype is about.
I attended The Capitol theatre in Horsham last night with my 16-year-old daughter to celebrate the end of her exams. We are both musical mad and were very much looking forward to listening to our favourite songs performed by these wonderful artists.
The show was a sell out and the audience were buzzing right from the start. The tension was rising in anticipation of what was coming. Nobody could hold back their excitement when the cast entered with their live band and opened to the incredible hit “The Show Must Go On” from Killer Queen. With such an iconic song as the opener, I was wondering how they were going to follow that and keep the pace for the next 2 hours or so. I had absolutely no reason to be concerned. The show was incredible from start to finish. We were wowed by songs from musicals past, present and future including Miss Saigon, Lion King and of course the amazing Les Misérables.
You could tell instantly why these 4 stars are on the West End stage, they had talent in abundance! The cast have so many credits to their name, it is simply mind blowing. Katie Leeming has performed in Les Misérables and also had a place within the Mamma Mia sequel “Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again” as well as numerous other roles. Singing alongside her was Poppy Tierney who has an equally impressive CV and has performed alongside David Essex and Marti Pellow. Poppy was out of this world with her medley of songs from Chicago, she was so talented, I think she could play any part you gave her on stage!
The men in the cast also have an incredible musical theatre career. They started the show together and are still together 20 years later, so they must have an incredible friendship too! Both Andy Reiss and David Fawcett have had long periods in Les Misérables, which sadly, I have yet to see (although I know all the songs). All 4 cast members appeared together at the O2 for the 25th anniversary of Les Misérables! David was the host of the evening and was very funny. He had the audience engaged all along with his funny if not cheesy jokes. The one about why he calls his wife Babe may be pushing it a bit, but he was a great host and clearly had a great level of respect for everybody on the stage performing with him. As for Andy, anyone who can sing, play keyboard and conduct all at the same time has my instant respect!
They all looked the part in their smart dresses and suits and the set was brilliant with a screen as a backdrop showing video relevant to the musical being sung at the time. There was simple yet effective lighting on stage and the band were beautifully positioned where we could see them. I much prefer being able to see the live band. They are an integral part of making the show the success it is and should be visible to gain the praise and applaud they deserve.
The Capitol theatre was, as usual, a delight. The staff are always friendly and keen to help in any way possible. The bar was well stocked at the beginning of the night with drinks and snacks. Parking is easy in several local car parks which are free in the evening, which makes for happy people!
I would not hesitate to recommend Beyond The Barricade to anybody who has an interest in musical theatre. This was the best evening I have had in a long time and they completely blew me away with their performance, particularly in the finale! I will most definitely be coming back to see them again!
Beyond The Barricade is currently on tour around the UK, for more information and tour dates visit www.beyondthebarricade.com.
For other shows at The Capitol Horsham visit www.thecapitolhorsham.com or call the box office on 01403 750220.
The Capitol Horsham, North Street, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 1RG | 01403 750220