David McMullan, Cabaret in the House

16 Oct

The new season of Cabaret in the House started off with David McMullan (Mary Poppins, Hairspray, Love Never Dies in the West End and most recently Ragtime at the Landor Theatre) and Holly Julier (Secret Garden, Edinburgh and Toronto). Lauderdale House is a lovely venue, even though it can be a bit of a hassle to get to Highgate on weekends.

Holly Julier has a great voice and is incredible versatile. She began with Gorgeous from The Apple Tree, then sang a wonderful rendition of Wait a Bit from Stiles & Drewe’s Just So. Her other songs were Green Finch and Linnet Bird from Sweeney Todd, Special from Avenue Q, There Are Worse Things I Could Do from Grease, Not A Day Goes By from Merrily We Roll Along, Hold On and How Could I Ever Know from The Secret Garden, Hold Down the Fort from John and Jen, Where Is It Written? from Yentl, I Could Have Danced All Night from My Fair Lady and finally Gimme Gimme from Thoroughly Modern Milly. I loved her mix of more classical musical theatre and modern songs. Most of them are among my favourite songs anyway, so it was lovely to hear them sung so well live.

After a short interval it was time for David McMullan. He began with This is the Moment (from Jekyll & Hyde), which then turned into a disastrous (and very funny) audition. Then he sang Climbing Uphill, but with a running commentary of his thought process during an audition. Again, very funny, and the remark about Richard Blackwood definitely got the most laughs.

His Who I’d Be from Shrek was great. I’ve never heard the song sung (live) by a good singer before. I also loved his What Do You Do With a BA in Performance, especially the line “Although I can pirouette, I can’t pay the bills yet”, followed by I Want To Be a Rockette and a personalised version of Alto’s Lament, which were both brilliant.

After that he sang a beautiful Anthem from Chess. I thought his voice suited this song perfectly. He then moved on to the “sentimental” part of the afternoon and first sang Proud of Your Boy and then What Do I Need With Love.

I never thought that a song about tea could be so entertaining, but his Ode to Tea/Have a Cuppa was both wonderfully sung and funny. Standing on the Corner was great too, I just liked how he made all these songs his own. Lots of great Jersey Boys/Mary Poppins references in this one.

His last song (before the encore of course) was a mash-up of Dancin’ Fool, I Could Have Danced All Night and some other songs about dancing. The encore was a medley of songs you should never sing at an audition: And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going, Defying Gravity, Rain On My Parade, As Long As He Needs Me, maybe some others too.

It was the perfect ending for a great afternoon. David McMullan has such a beautiful voice and he seems to be a born entertainer. As much as I loved the more comedic numbers, the ballads really showed off his voice.

I don’t think I could have spent those two hours any better than watching these two talented, young performers and I hope I get the chance to see them on a stage again soon.

David McMullan will appear in Pippin at the Menier Chocolate Factory from 22 November.

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