Reviewed by Catherine Brown
Celebrating everything that is great about musical theatre, ‘Les Musicals’ Live Concert Tour is currently touring the UK and we went along to see it on its stop at the Regent Theatre in Stoke. Jonathan Ansell and Jai McDowell combine their powerful vocals perfectly to create a mesmerising showcase of songs from all the classic musicals.
The evening began with a medley of Greatest Showman tunes demonstrating how well the singer’s voices complemented each other. They were accompanied on stage by Richard Jones on piano, (also the musical director) and John Clark on drums. Duets included songs from Miss Saigon, Phantom of the Opera and my favourite ‘Go the distance’ from Hercules.
Ansell’s tenor voice was previously heard as frontman of the pop-opera group G4 who were runners up on the first ever series of the X-factor in 2004. I particularly enjoyed his performances of Whistle Down the Wind, Gethsamene from Jesus Christ Superstar, and Love Changes Everything. McDowell impressed as the 2011 winner of Britain’s Got Talent, which he followed with the album ‘Believe’. He wowed the audience of Les Musicals with ‘Dancing through life’ from Wicked and ‘Anthem’ from Chess amongst others.
The endearing duo moved smoothly from tune to tune, only occasionally pausing between songs to explain which musical they were from or give some background to their choices. There was a little interaction with the audience but the main focus was on the music. The stage was simply light with just the musicians and a series of steps to add a little variety. Success of props varied – I loved the use of a hoverboard during Starlight Express but thought a mask on Jai during a song from Chicago distorted his voice too much.
If you enjoy captivating theatre tunes and a bit of banter from some enigmatic chaps, this is the show for you.
The Regent Theatre is in the Hanley area of Stoke and has plenty of public car parks nearby. Staff at the venue are very friendly and welcoming and the seating and facilities were comfortable and clean.
Les Musicals is currently on tour around the UK, for more information and tour dates visit www.lesmusicals.com.
For other shows at the Regent Theatre in Stoke visit www.atgtickets.com/regent-theatre or call the box office on 0844 871 7649.
Regent Theatre, Piccadilly, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, ST1 1AP | 0844 871 7649