Newcastle City Hall – 29 April 2017. Reviewed by Lindsay Sykes
Saturday night in Newcastle saw a concert celebrating legendary Knights and Dames of Music of the entertainment industry who have transformed the face of music, film and theatre in recent decades.
Without doubt this is a star vehicle for Schofield and his name is clearly selling tickets as the theatre was around 80% full and the audience greeted him enthusiastically throughout the evening. It was a great concept, and he is an expert of his craft, engaging the audience and providing lots of facts, figures and show business anecdotes, interacting and responding to audience shout outs and he gave the impression that a lot of his chat was unscripted.
With some outstanding vocals The Knights of Music included songs from Sir Elton John, Lord Andrew Lloyd-Webber, Sir Cliff Richard, Dame Shirley Bassey, Sir Paul McCartney and The Beatles, Sir Cameron Mackintosh, Sir Tim Rice, Sir Mick Jagger, Sir Bob Geldof, Bono who was granted an honorary knighthood, and the newly knighted Sir Rod Stewart.
The evening began with a band of very talented musicians, lead by MD and stunning pianist James Harrison who arguably steals the show. Playing a mash-up of songs which introduced the cast of six singers, all of which I’m lucky that I have seen perform before – Sophie Evans, Liam Doyle, Andy Coxon, Laura Tebbutt, Emily Jane Brookes and producer Simon Schofield. The band – Harrison, Daniel Allen on sax, Lloyd Wright on guitar, Anth Ord on bass and Tom Chapman on bass offered remarkable arrangements and seamless mixes which drive this pacey and perfectly produced production.
With his charming and congenial manner Schofield starts the show with the songs of Sir Elton John as the singers danced their way through a medley including I’m Still Standing, Rocket Man and Crocodile Rock, before they finished this upbeat section with a delightful Circle Of Life.
Huge portions of the show are dedicated to the West End with glorious medleys from Jesus Christ Superstar, Phantom of the Opera and obviously Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Recognising Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber and Sir Tim Rice’s contribution to the music industry, Jesus Christ Superstar and Music Of The Night filled the auditorium, whilst Sophie Evans recalled her time playing Dorothy in The Wizard Of Oz with an exquisite version of Somewhere Over The Rainbow and an excellent rendition of My Favourite Things. Sir Cameron Mackintosh’s contribution wasn’t forgotten though – with songs from Miss Saigon and some stunning vocals on medleys from Les Miserables.
There’s relentless choreography that proves a lot of effort and time has gone into almost three hours of musical bliss. Seamlessly moving from rock, pop and musical theatre. The Sir Tom Jones, Dame Shirley Bassey and SIr Mick Jagger sections being especially fabulous
And finally the audience got what they were hoping and waiting for Phillip performed Any Dream Will Do as well as Close Every Door from Joseph and even pulled on his amazing technicolor dreamcoat. Proving he still has that special ability to move and engage an audience, receiving a standing ovation for each song.
This is a powerfully polished show, remarkably staged with sensational vocals and a brilliant band – a huge creation for just four marvellous performances. So it can come as no surprise that by the end, and throughout, the audience were on their feet in awe of this tremendous production
We can only hope that this show will tour again and that Phillip Schofield will rediscover his love of Musical Theatre and tread the boards again sometime soon.