Tag Archives: Ashleigh Gray

Divas Sing Scott Alan, Arts Theatre

14 Nov

Scott Alan

After the success of his previous concerts in London, Scott Alan returned for this one-night only concert. Due to popular demand a second concert was added for the evening. Scott was joined by Natalie Weiss, Cassie McIvor, Ashleigh Gray, Chloe Hart, Jodie Jacobs, Sarah Earnshaw and Daniel Boys.  There were also two unexpected special guests…

The concert started with Natalie Weiss singing “I Am a Star”. She’s got an amazing voice, what a great start to the evening.

Next was Ashleigh Gray with “West”. It’s one of my favourite songs by Scott Alan and Ashleigh is such a talented performer. Stunning!

Chloe Hart sang an amazing rendition of “Easy”

This was followed by another amazing performance: Cassie McIvor singing “I’m Not Ready Yet to Grieve”.

Jodie Jacobs came on stage to sing “Surrender”. This song really showed off her voice, loved it.

Sarah Earnshaw’s “Again” was lovely!

“Magic” was sung by Ashleigh Gray. Just perfect.

Natalie Weiss sang a great acoustic version of “Distance You Have Come”.

Then Scott Alan came on stage and sang “It’s Good to See You Again”. It always feel special to me somehow when I see composers perform their own material.

Sarah Earnshaw came back to sing “Watch Me Soar”. Another lovely song and her voice really did soar.

Then Natalie Weiss was joined by the Divo of the evening, Daniel Boys, to sing “Nothing More” Their voices sounded lovely together and it’s such a beautiful song too.

Daniel stayed on to sing “Kiss the Air”. A truly amazing performance! He’s got one of the best voices I’ve heard.

“Say Goodbye” was sung by Cassie McIvor again. What a voice!

For the next song, Scott invited 5 aspiring performers to the stage (randomly picked from the audience), who each sang a couple of lines from “Never Neverland” before one of them was chosen to sing the whole song. The winner, and deservedly so,  was Ziggie Sky Ward. No rehearsals, nothing, but she still nailed it. They couldn’t have chosen anyone better.

Next up were some songs from Scott’s new musical “Home”. The first was “My Life” sung by Scott himself. I liked it, especially the lyrics.

Jodie Jacobs and Natalie Weiss then sang “Home”. It’s such an uplifting song.

“And There It Is” was sung by Natalie Weiss again, followed by Chloe Hart’s “I Wish”. Beautiful songs and performances!

Ashleigh Gray then performed a new song from “Home”, “Getting High”. It was quite cheeky, but also very sad in parts.

The next song was another surprise. Stuart Matthew Price was in the audience and was asked by Scott to perform “Free” with Ashleigh Gray. I love the duet version of it and hearing it sung by such talented performers was wonderful.

The last song was sung by Scott again. He asked the audience what they wanted to hear and “Now” turned out to be the most popular. It was a great ending to the concert.

In-between songs there was the usual Scott Alan banter, including lots of swearing. Sometimes it just feels a bit too much for me (not the swearing, just in general), but it’s all part of the fun I guess. It definitely was a hugely enjoyable evening with stunning performances.

Advertisements

Betwixt, Trafalgar Studio 2

8 Sep

Better late than never! I saw Betwixt for the first time towards the beginning of its run and now agaain after some changes in the cast.

It  is not called a funny musical for nothing and the advice in the programme to not think too much and just go along with it should be taken to heart. Buf if you are prepared to do just that, you are in for two hour of blissful fun.

I find it quite difficult to say anything about the story without sounding totally daft, so I’ll just say that it is about a writer who suffers from writer’s block and, together with his new roommate, is then transported to an enchanted kingdom where he has to prove himself, finds the love of his life and eventually his confidence and new inspiration. On their way they encounter nymphs, cross-dressing mutes, a disembodied head and other fantastic characters.

While the story is  undoubtedlyvery funny, there are also more serious moments, which help to feel and root for Bailey (the write), and also Cooper (his roommate).

Bailey is played by Benedict Salter and, personally, I can’t imagine anyone else being as good as him as the “skinny ginger boy with a pencil”. He also has a very good voice, and he’s grown a lot in the role since I first saw it. They are not using microphones and he got drowned out sometimes, but I could understand him perfectly the second time. He also sings the, in my opinion, best song in the show, namely “Eyes of a Child”.

Steven Webb as his new roommate Cooper steals the show for me though. He is incredibly funny and flamboyant, but he also manages to make you laugh in one second and feel for his character in the next. The perfect example for this is the scene right before “How Do You Know (Reprise)”.

Ashleigh Gray once again shows what a beautiful voice she has, her Bavarian accent is hilarious and spot-on and she has great chemistry with the others, but her interactions with Webb’s Cooper are incredible.

Peter Duncan causes many laughs as Haydn Prince/Prince Haydn and especially as Garbo. “Fabulous Man” is amazing.

The ensemble members, Will Hawksworth, Alyssa Nicol, Vicki Lee Taylor, Rob Wilshaw and Kelly Chinery (replaced Vicki Lee Taylor on 22 August) are great, but Will Hawksworth deserves a special mention. His facial expressions (or lack of) are incredible and his comic timing is spot-on. Not only, but especially as Joan.

I have now seen both Ellen Greene and Lizzie Roper as Princess/Nymph Queen and Enchantress. They both play it completely different and therefore it’s impossible to compare them. There are some parts where I preferred Ellen Greene and others where I preferred Lizzie Roper. Having said that, I really miss the song “Between”. I’m sure they had their reasons why they cut it, but I thought it was the perfect ending and Ellen Greene’s rendition of it was breathtaking. However, I don’t think it would fit to Lizzie Roper’s characterisation. I still enjoyed it, but I couldn’t help feeling that Betwixt lost its heart with this particular cut.

The musical closes this Saturday and I strongly recommend to beg, steal or borrow (alternatively, buy!) a ticket if you haven’t seen it yet.It is one musical not to be missed, also because it all fits perfectly together: the music, the story and of course the incredibly talented cast!

Despite it being a funny musical, I left feeling all warm and fuzzy inside and I think that is because the characters are written so well that you can’t help being happy for them when they find their happy ending.

Go and see it before it is too late!

Scott Alan & Friends, Jermyn Street Theatre

26 Jun

For one night only, the American composer Scott Alan was back in London for a late-night concert at the Jermyn Street Theatre, organised by SimG Productions.

I love his music, mainly because I can relate to many of his songs and they are just beautiful, but I had never seen him live before.

He was joined by Stuart Matthew Price, Annalene Beechey, Ashleigh Gray, Bradley White-Dale, Cassie McIvor and Mark Evans for the evening.

The atmosphere was very relaxed, loads of joking and banter among the performers (and swearing from  Scott 😉 ) and apparently no rehearsals beforehand.

Scott started the concert with West from his album Keys. Lovely song and I really like his voice.

He then sang It’s Good To See You Again, the song he sang in his first ever concert in London at the Duchess Theatre.

Kiss The Air was next, sung by Bradley White-Dale . I love this song, but I wasn’t too keen on Bradley’s performance. I can’t even say what it was that I didn’t like, because he wasn’t bad in any way, but I think I just prefer other interpretations of that song.

After some not so nice comments about Betty Blue Eyes by Scott, Stuart Matthew Price sang Blessing, a song he wrote for his mother when he came out.I’ll just have to say it again, but I love the way he acts whatever song he sings.

Ashleigh Gray’s Never Neverland was stunning!

Mark Evans then sang a song that’s going to be on his new album, unfortunately I didn’t catch its title, but I’ll call it Waiting For You for now. It’s another beautiful song and I’m looking forward to hearing the recorded version.

Then Cassie McIvor sang Home, which apparently is about his dog. It’s one of my favourite songs and Cassie was great.

Having saved the best for last, Annalene Beechey sang a beautiful rendition of I Remember. She’s got such a gorgeous voice, simply stunning! As is the song.

The last song, sung again by Scott himself, was Anything Worth Holding On To. It’s one of the rare songs that are better at expressing what I feel/felt than I am myself and I’ll be forever grateful to Scott for writing about these things that nobody ever seems to talk about. Just the knowledge that you are not alone and there are other people out there, going through similar feelings, is comforting and I’m sure I’m not the only one getting this sort of comfort from Scott’s music.

Hopefully his sister really is moving to London, so that we can get many more Scott Alan concerts over here! In the meantime, go and buy his albums if you haven’t got them already! Either at Dress Circle or from his website .

Stuart Matthew Price: All Things In Time – Barn Theatre, Oxted

22 Jun

Stuart Matthew Price is another great contemporary composer and performer and can be currently seen in the West End production of Shrek, where he plays one of the three little pigs. He also created the part of the Young Soldier/Frankie Epps in Parade (Donmar Warehouse), played Riff Raff  in The Rocky Horror Show (German Tour), Jordan in Departure Lounge (Edinburgh Fringe), Beyond The Gate and took part in several concerts.

He released his debut album All Things In Time last year and it’s amazing. It is a fantastic collection of new songs by both British and American songwriters and he’s not only got a stunning voice, but the emotion he displays in it is incredible. A definite must-have for any theatre fan!

I’ve been lucky enough to see Stuart Matthew Price in some other concerts these past few months, so my expectation were very high, but he just seems to get better and better.

This time he had a bigger orchestra instead of just a piano for accompaniment, which sounded great: Bob Broad (Keys 1/MD), Scott Alder (Keys 2/MD), Annmarie McDade (Violin), Lauren Steel (Cello), Charlie Laffer (Guitar) and Ida Hollis (Bass).

He opened the concert with The Old Red Hills Of Home from Jason Robert Brown’s Parade, which is also the first song on his album. It’s a great song (and musical) and hearing/seeing Stuart perform it live is always a treat.

Up next was Sonnet XXIX, which was written by “Jason Robert Brown’s wife” aka Georgia Stitt. I probably wouldn’t find it that funny (or funny it all) if I hadn’t seen her tweet this when I came home:

So he’s not the only one who doesn’t mention her by name. Lovely song and rendition!

Then his guest for the evening, Ashleigh Gray, came on stage to sing Wizard And I. I never saw her in Wicked, but I couldn’t agree more with Stuart: She’s simply incredible and has got one of the best voices I’ve ever heard.

Stuart then sang a shortened version of Being Alive from Company. I keep repeating myself, but it was amazing. Wonderful vocals and acting!

Next was one of Stuart’s own songs, Autumn Days from his musical The Diary of Me. It’s a lovely and very moving song. It’s one of my favourites on his album, so I had hoped he’d sing it again, and it sounded great.

Run Away With Me is another great song and Stuart did it more than justice!

Ashleigh Gray came back on stage to sing Free with Stuart. Such a lovely song, especially when sung by two so stupidly talented people.

The last song of the first half was Grateful. I can’t (and don’t want to) imagine anyone else singing that song anymore! It probably wasn’t his strongest performance of that song, but even when he is not 100 % he’s still pretty damn good (and better than most others).

The first song of the second half was another of Stuart’s own songs, Where I Want To Be. It’s a very catchy song, loved it!

Wishing For The Normal has been one of my favourite songs since I’ve heard it on the A Spoonful of Stiles & Drew album and I’d always hoped he’d sing it at his other cabarets. Finally, he did. It’s such a nice song and they were great.

He then sang the title track from his album, All Things In Time. It’s another incredibly beautiful song by Jason Robert Brown.

His Bring Him Home was stunning. I really hope he gets to play the part at some point, fortunately the musical doesn’t seem to go anywhere in the foreseeable future.

He then sang Last Night Of The World with Ashleigh Gray. This was probably my favourite song of the evening. It’s a wonderful song anyway, but hearing and watching those two sing it… Just wow!

The last song was Road To Heaven. I love the lyrics of this song and it sounded great with the bigger orchestra.

As an encore we were treated to Gethsemane. Is there any song this guy can’t sing?!? It was wonderful and he definitely deserved that standing ovation afterwards! I’ve never seen Jesus Christ Superstar on stage and only know it from the two film versions and the London Revival Cast Recording with Steve Balsamo. Until tonight, this had song never really moved me, but I found it almost painful to watch Stuart singing it because his acting was so intense.

That’s one of the things that I like so much about his concerts: He doesn’t just sing the songs beautifully, but he really acts them and takes you on a journey.

Another thing that makes his concerts so special are his introductions to the songs, which are hilarious, and sometimes rather long. The record is probably still held by his cabaret at the Landor Theatre, which lasted three hours because he was talking that much (I’m not complaining by the way, it didn’t feel long at all!). So among the random things we’ve learned tonight were that he apparently wants a dog, men hate shaving and would all wear long beards if they could, it took the British to make Shrek work, he feels like a little Jesus guy in Oxted while outside of the Barn he’s a little pig, it’s not easy to play the piano with pointed shoes and “Susan Boyle – The Musical” is like saying “My Right Foot – The Musical”.

All in all, a great evening with some great music and incredibly talented people! I’m looking forward to more concerts in the hopefully not too distant future!

And if you haven’t got Stuart’s album already, you can (and should) buy it at Dress Circle, because “you can’t sign a download”!