Beyond the Barricade – Civic Theatre, Darlington
Posted by: The Reviews Hub
Producers: Andy Reiss, David Fawcett
Musical Director: Andy Reiss
The ethos of Beyond the Barricade is that only ex members of Les Miserables are cast in the production; this is so no one is under the illusion as to the quality of the performers. And you do see a quality performance. Laced with a few jokes and a bit of audience banter the show is fantastic.
Flowing seamlessly from Phantom to We Will Rock You to Lion King, you get a whole range of West End hits. All four singers have amazing voices and it would be unfair to single out any special praise for an individual however Katie Leemings vocals for Don’t Cry for Me Argentina from Evita and Tell Me It’s Not True from Blood Brothers are outstanding. And while you are still wiping away the tears Rebecca Vere hits you with Only The Good Die Young from WWRY leading to an emotional few moments. David Fawcett is a perfect master of ceremonies for the evening and has a vast knowledge of all things theatrical which he combines with comedy – and then tops it all off with a huge voice. He is just as happy playing Poomba in The Lion King as he is raising the roof as Jean Valjean in Les Miserables.
Completing this extremely talented quartet is Andy Reiss who possesses a charismatic stage presence and an incredible rock musical voice that creates a very powerful Judas in Superstar from Jesus Christ Superstar and also a very comedic Seymour from Little Shop of Horrors. Not content with just blasting out the more rock-style numbers and playing keyboards, he also acts as musical and creative director for the tour.
The simple but effective lighting is supplemented with a large video screen which provides visual backup and affords several opportunities to share with the audience a slide show which gives the whole performance an extremely friendly, almost intimate, feeling. When the Freddie Mercury slide popped up his photo got a round of applause without any singing. But a special mention must be made because the regular Lighting engineer wasn’t at the performance due to his wife giving birth that morning and an unnamed volunteer had stepped in at the last minute from the Civic. But you wouldn’t have guessed as it all ran seamlessly
The finale of Les Miserables, with favourites like At The End Of The Day, Stars, On My Own and I Dreamed A Dream, which raised the roof. The group returned to a standing ovation for their One Day More encore which ends the musical’s first act, normally performed by a 25-strong group of singers and their orchestra. It was difficult to believe such musical and vocal strength came from the four singers and their modest band of 3 – a keyboard, drums and bass, near impossible to tell their performance from the West End’s
Beyond The Barricade is in its 13th year of touring if you’ve not seen it yet then go when its passing and you’ll have a fabulous night out