Monday, 13 November 2006

The Best Of West End!

Löfbergs Lila Arena, Karlstad 11 November 2006

I was lucky enough to be able to see this wonderful show, filled with fantastical musical numbers and great performers! A wonderful evening indeed!!
First I will write a little about the performers we saw, then I will list the songs (and performers), but for obvious reasons I won't be able to go into detail about each and every song. Instead I will try to focus on certain highlights ... and naturally, there will be detailed descriptions of the Les Misérables songs! *lol*

Scott Davies: Trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. He's done - among a lot of others - Mr Snow in Carousel, The Painter in Lulu, Don Ricardo in Verdi's Ernani, The Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera and he recently played Borsa in Rigoletto (as well as being understudy to The Duke of Mantua). In TV he's appeared in "Taggart", "Take the High Road" and "Crimewatch UK" (and much much more!).

Jody Crosier: He has a degree from Guilford School of Acting. He's played Rapunzel's Prince in Into the Woods, Marius in Les Misérables, Chris in Miss Saigon, Martin in Martin Guerre, Stephen in Snakes and Ladders and a lot more.
He performed in the Les Misérables 10th Anniversary Concert (in The Choir) and also in the Les Misérables concert performed for the Queen of England, Tony Blair and Jaques Chirac.
He's also appeared in Showstopper, War and Peace, Oklahoma, The Pirates of Penzance and much more!

Jacinta Whyte: Her career started at the age of 12 when she had the lead role in Annie in Victoria Palace Theatre and Gaiety Theatre in Dublin.
She's performed as Linda in Blood Brothers, Eponine in Les Misérables, Ellen in Miss Saigon and she has also had parts in Grease, Anne of Green Gables, Cinderella, West Side Story and as "Young Prostitue" in Les Misérables 10th Anniversary Concert.
She's been performing in "Friday Night is Music Night" for BBC Radio, and she won the 1989 Montreaux Golden Rose. She's worked for RTE Radio & Television where she had her on TV-show, "Jacinta".
She has performed with numerous orchestras and among her film credits are My Left Foot, The Commintments, The Lilac Bus and A Green Journey.

Lydia Griffith: Comes from Wrexham in Northern Wales. She has just finished playing Carrie in Carousel and the female journalist in Pravda, both in Chichester Festival Theatre.
She has done Greta in the UK Tour of The Snow Queen and she has played both Cosette and Eponine in Les Misérables (Palace Theatre). She's also appeared in Napoleon, A Christmas Carol and Cabaret.
She's on the Big Talet Show (ITV) in 1997 and she's a regular guest at "Friday Night is Music Night" on BBC Radio 2.

Swedish Guest Star
Anders Ekborg: A famous face in Swedish musical theatre and movies. He's played Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar, Karl-Oskar in Kristina Från Duvemåla and Freddie Trumper in Chess as well as the lead in Jekyll & Hyde and a Swedish production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Josef och hans bröder), and he played Che in the Swedish production of Evita.
He's recently done some television work, in "Snapphanar" and "Den som viskar", and he's just released his first solo album called "Äkta Vara".

Song List:

Act 1:
Company (Company) - Solists
You're Nothing Without Me (City of Angels) - Jody Crosier, Scott Davies
Maybe This Time (Cabaret) - Jacinta Whyte
Something's Coming (West Side Story) - Jody Crosier
Thoroughly Modern Millie (Thoroughly Modern Millie) - Lydia Griffiths
Starlight Express (Starlight Express) - Scott Davies
The Circle of Life (The Lion King) - Jacinta Whyte, Jody Crosier
This is the Moment (Jekyll & Hyde) - Anders Ekborg (sung in Swedish)
All I Ask Of You (Phantom of the Opera) - Anders Ekborg, Lydia Griffiths
Music of the Night (Phantom of the Opera) - Scott Davies
Blow Gabriel Blow (Anything Goes) - Jacinta Whyte
Anthem (Chess) - Anders Ekborg
One Day More (Les Misérables) - Solists

Act 2:

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) - Solists
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (Mary Poppins) - Lydia Griffiths, Jody Croiser
Bui Doi (Miss Saigon) - Scott Davies
If I Loved You - Lydia Griffiths
What Kind of Fool Am I? (Stop the World - I Want to Get Off) - Jody Crosier
You & I (Chess) - Anders Ekborg, Jacinta Whyte
Heaven on their Minds (Jesus Christ Superstar) - Anders Ekborg (sung in Swedish)
I Could Have Danced All Night (My Fair Lady) - Lydia Griffiths
Empty Chairs at Empty Tables (Les Misérables) - Jody Crosier
Stars (Les Misérables) - Scott Davies
The Prayer (Les Misérables) - Anders Ekborg
Macavity (Cats) - Jacinta Whyte
Mamma Mia! Medley - Everybody

I really hope nobody will be offended by the fact that I'm only choosing some songs to discuss further, but I simply don't have the time or the energy to write about every single one ... this, of course, doesn't mean that I didn't enjoy the songs that aren't mentioned here ...

The first song I'd like to mention is "This Is the Moment" from Jekyll & Hyde, sung wonderfully by Anders Ekborg! It was great to hear this particular song, because I heard Christer Nerfont sing it in the Musical Highlights!-concert (October 8th!)! I can't say that I prefer one of them over the other, becuase they were both amazing!

Anders Ekborg and Lydia Griffiths singing "All I Ask Of You" from Phantom of the Opera was also a fantastic experience - their voices sound really wonderful togheter! Continuing on the Phantom-theme, Scott Davies went on to sing "Music of the Night". In my personal opinion, this was by far the best he did during the show, it was absolutely fantastic!! I bet he made an excellent Phantom *wished I could have seen him*!!

Jacinta Whyte sang "Blow Gabriel Blow" from Anything Goes, I'd never heard it before, and it was great!! Miss Whyte is so energetic with so much personality, you just couldn't help smiling the entire time!

Anders Ekborg's interpretation of "Anthem" was also something very special!! I hadn't heard him perform this particular song before, and he did a great job - he has a really powerful voice!!

Act One finished with "One Day More" from Les Misérables, to my great delight! :-) The songs has seven parts and they [almost] pulled it off with four people on stage - which impressed me a lot!! Scott Thomas sang Valjean and Enjolras, Jody Crosier sang Marius and Javert, Lydia Griffiths was Cosette and Jacinta Whyte sang Eponine and the Thénardiers-parts - and I loved the way she completely changed her accent when chaning from one part to another! Amazing! The choir parts were divided, which worked perfectly, but in the end, where all parts sing more or less togehter, they skipped the Javert- and Thénardiers-parts to make it work. Still, a very memorable Act One Finale!!

Act Two started with "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang", which I'd never heard before, but it was certainly the perfect song to get everybody back into the musical spirit!

Lydia Griffiths and Jody Crosier sang "Supercalifrailisticexpialidocious" from Mary Poppins, which was filled with joy and energy - fantastic!!

The lovely duet "You & I" from Chess was sung by Anders Ekborg and Jacinta Whyte and was so beautiful!!

Then came a few Les Misérables songs! Yay! Jody Crosier sang "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" and did a very good job! He's not one of my very favourites, but he really did a wonderful job with this very emotional song! Scott Davies sang "Stars", and I was a bit nervous before. "Stars" is my favourite song from my favourite musical, and I have very clear opinions on what it takes to make it great, and what performers have that ability (yes, I'm horrible, I know!) ... Mr. Davies did a quite acceptable job, without a doubt, although I can't say that he reached the levels my favourite performers are on ... this, of course, just being my humble opinion! I felt sorry for him though, because very early on in the song, he completely forgot the lyrics!! He went through most of the first half of the song just mumbling, and that must have been pretty tough - I mean, it can happen to anyone, but it's pretty horrible when it does ... Since I'm totally into this song, I noticed this right away, but for others in the audience not quite so obsessed with Les Misérables, it mightn't have been obvious at all! Anders Ekborg sang "The Prayer" ("Bring Him Home"). He's a very talented singer indeed, but to me, this is one of the most complicated and difficult songs I know of, it's enormously difficult to perform this song really well - and I don't know of many performers that can!! Still, a good job from Mr. Ekborg!

Jacinta Whyte sang "Macavity" from Cats, and this was a really nice surprise for me! This is one of the fe4w songs from Cats I've never really liked much, but Miss Whyte totally changed that! She made this song into something totally fantastic!!

The show ended with a huge medley from Mamma Mia! which was very powerful! The audience wasn't that great, unfortunately, because with a bit more activity and cooperation from them, the medely could have been even better!

The performers came back for one extra number, they did "We Are The Champions" from We Will Rock You, but once again, I think it could have been an even more powerful ending with a better audience.

It was still a most wonderful evening, and I think that seeing Jacinta Whyte was a highlight for me! Of course I have seen her in Les Misérables 10th Anniversary Concert but she was soooo much better than I ever could have expected!

It was also great to see Anders Ekborg live again, I hadn't seen him since I saw him as Freddie in Chess in January 2003!!
Naturally, the other performers also were absolutely fantastic!
A very memorable evening indeed!!

Jessica's Websites


The darkest night said...

WONDERFUL review Jessica! I really enjoyed reading it! :)
Sounds like it was a GREAT concert!

I'm totally jealous of course *lol*
Jacinta Whyte is one of my (many *lol*) TAC favourites..must have been really cool to see her live! :)

And of course Anders Ekborg is on my "must-see-live" list too *lol* (I just saw him in a Wallander movie actually.... totally surprising, for some reason I always forget he's an actor too..not "only" a singer... *lol*)

Jessica said...

I'm really glad you enjoyed the review!! :D

It was really amazing to see Jacinta Whyte live!!! I've always felt she was great in TAC, although not one of my very favourites - but boy, was she wonderful in this show!! I definately need to see her in TAC again now, I never could have dreamed she was soooo fantastic!! (Even a friend of my Mum's who were at the show mentioned her specifically, and said she was really awesome!!)

I really hope you can see Anders Ekbort live some day, he's a fantastic singer (and actor!! I know what you mean, I tend to forget that he does regular acting too! *lol*)!!

The darkest night said...

yeah, sounds like you better watch the TAC again *lol* Jacinta is great in it! :) Or maybe I'm just too fond of the "crazy-bloody-witch"-line? *lol*

Thanks! Yeah, I really hope I get to see him some day too..he's on my list *lol*

Jessica said...

*lol* I'll hopefully get around to watching TAC this weekend - I hope! *stressing like crazy*
I bet Jacinta is really wonderful ... and the "crazy-bloody-which" line IS great!! :D

EvaS said...

Hey Jessica! :)
Eva from London LM here.
Loved your review of Best of The West End in Karlstad. I'm glad you liked it. And I'm really happy that you got to see Jacinta. She is fantastic! I saw her in BOWE in Göteborg in January. I'm still really glad that I got to see Kim Criswell and Michael McCarthy instead of the once you got though.
A bit jelaous that you got to hear One day more though. And I see that they had changed performers in a few songs.
What did you think of Anders's Heaven on their minds? I liked that one more then This is the moment.
Hey, maybe we could meet up somewhere in Sweden on the next BOWE concert? ;)
Talk soon!

Jessica said...

Hey Eva!
Nice to see you here as well! :D
I am jealous of you seeing Michael McCarthy in BOWE ... I'd LOVE to hear him singing Stars!!! (He does it SO well!!!)
Heaven on their minds is a really great song - but I actually think I liked This is the moment a bit more! ;)
Would be GREAT to see eachother on the next BOWE concert! I'd never been to one before, but I REALLY enjoyed it! :)

EvaS said...

I've seen BOWE or other shows from that company loads of times. I love them and used to work with them. :)
Hope to hear from you at London LM! I might have an early X-mas gift for you. ;)

Jessica said...

Wow, sounds like you're really experienced with BOWE! :) :) I'd really LOVE to see some more shows, as I enjoyed myself a LOT!
I haven't been at London LM much lately - Uni's been totally crazy, but I'll try to drop by soon! :)