Review: ‘His succulent vocals tease the melodies and give the illusion that you are hearing a song for the very first time’ ★★★★★ Richard Hadfield, Flora Indica

Richard Hadfield is fast becoming one of the UK’s favourite jazz singers. Since leaving Collabro – the musical theatre boyband, with whom he won Britain’s Got Talent – the young crooner has grown in confidence and really established himself as a solo performer.

And now that he’s really found his niche market, in the run up to Christmas, Hadfield is putting on shows in some of the most well-known music clubs in Britain, including the famous Cavern Club in Liverpool.

As a prelude to this career defining performance, the troubadour was called upon by Made in Chelsea star Julius Cowdrey – with whom Richard is currently co-writing an EP – to play a one-off gig at the Flora Indica restaurant and I went along to enjoy the sultry sounds, while sampling some of the cuisine.

Flora Indica in Kensington is an interesting venue. Opulent and ancient, but with a twist, both with the food it serves and the design within. Having a young star perform some old-time classic jazz standards perfectly compliments this juxtaposition. When coupled with Richard Hadfield’s knack of finding cool jazz rhythms in almost everything, the gathered cool cats of Chelsea were in for a treat.

Accompanied by JJ Stilwell on double bass and Liam Stevens on piano, Hadfield opened proceedings with a nod to his love for musical theatre in the form of a mashed up version of “The Phantom of the Opera” and “The Pink Panther”. His succulent vocals tease the melodies and give the illusion that you are hearing a song for the very first time. This beautiful rendition was followed by some real classics, with “Witchcraft”, Nina Simone’s “My Baby Just Cares for Me”, the Frank Sinatra favourite “Fly me to the Moon” and the glorious “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” all beautifully performed.

But it wasn’t just the oldies, as Richard proved his versatility by wonderfully executing some modern melodies too, including Calvin Harris’s “How Deep is Your Love”, Sam Smith’s “Too Good at Goodbye”, Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” and Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” with heavy double base to the melody of “Fever” and mixed up with a bit of “Just the two of us” for good measure.

The set was finished off in style with another Sinatra classic “My Way”, which had the hugely enthusiastic Thursday night crowd on their feet in appreciation.

Richard Hadfield is definitely one to watch and with an EP on the horizon and some impressive gigs just around the corner, the future looks bright for this hugely talented vocalist.

Richard Hadfield will perform at The Cavern Club In Liverpool on 3 December and Pizza Express Live in Holborn on 16 December.

https://www.cavernclub.org/events/event/richard-hadfield/

https://www.pizzaexpresslive.com/whats-on/seasons-greetings-with-richard-hadfield

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Ahead of launching his new EP, John McLarnon takes our Sugar Rush Quiz

Glaswegian singer-songwriter John McLarnon launches his much-anticipated debut EP ‘Thirty Two Winters’.

Combining soaring melodies and raw vocals ‘Thirty Two Winters’ acts as an exciting follow-up to John’s debut single ‘Snow Angels’, which reached number 4 on the iTunes chart upon release.

Influenced by fellow celtic songwriters Glen Hansard, Damien Rice & Foy Vance, ‘Thirty Two winters’ weaves thoughtful powerful lyrics with sweeping folk inspired instrumentation to produce an honest and exciting debut.

In addition to his songwriting, John is also an actor most recently appearing as Killick in Season Three of Amazon’s epic drama ‘Outlander’ and in West-End play ‘Apologia’ alongside Tony and Emmy award winner Stockard Channing. He also played guitarist Outspan Foster in Roddy Doyle’s hit show ‘The Commitments’ in London’s West-End.

John will launch his new EP ‘Thirty Two Winters’ at Above The Arts Cabaret Club London on 24th November, but took some time off from preparations to take our Sugar Rush Quiz.

What are you currently working on?

I am currently coming to the end of working on ‘Apologia’ at the Trafalgar Studios and writing and rehearsing new songs for my EP launch next month. 

What is the one thing that has helped you to become successful? 

I think the key thing is being honest with yourself and identifying where your strengths lie and focusing on constantly improving what makes you stand out in such a competitive business.  

What is your favourite Book?

I would say ‘The Beach’ by Alex Garland, I read it whilst travelling and it has stuck with me ever since, I also recently really enjoyed Matt Haig’s ‘How To Stop Time’.

What are you currently watching on TV?

‘MindHunter’ on Netflix at the moment, it’s my new addiction, hoping to get it finished in time for season two of ‘Stranger Things’.  

Would you choose the cinema, theatre or a restaurant for a night out? 

I’d say restaurant then the theatre or cinema…….. is that cheating? 

What’s your favourite sweet? 

I have got the sweetest of sweet tooth’s so that is a tough one but if pressed I would have to go for peanut M&Ms.  

What did you want to be when you were a child? 

When I was a kid I only wanted to be a footballer, then as I grew up I decided on an architect then ended up an actor and musician, funny old life.

What was the naughtiest thing you did when you were a child?

Me and my mates were really into WWE wrestling when we were kids and I can distinctly remember knocking my best mate out with an Argos catalogue, his Mum wasn’t too pleased, however we are still friends today so all was forgiven.  

What is your proudest achievement to date?

 Finishing and releasing music I’ve written.     

What’s next? 

Launching my EP ‘Thirty Two Winters’ at Above The Arts Cabaret Club London on 24th Nov.

Tickets are on sale now and available at:

https://artstheatrewestend.co.uk/whats-on/john-mclarnon-thirty-two-winters-ep-launch/

A host of West End stars will gather for Sunday at the Musicals

A whole host of West End stars will gather at St. Paul’s Church (The Actors’ Church) in Covent Garden next month for a very special concert.

Entitled Sunday at the Musicals the show will be hosted by Rosemarie Ford and feature a cast of musical theatre performers together with the renowned musical pair Classical Reflection and seventy members of the London Show Choir.

The company will perform songs from past and present musicals – accompanied by pianist, Matt Pallant –  in what is expected to be a night not to be missed.

The cast will include, Emily Clare, Classical Reflection, Susan Colclough, Amanda Coutts, Lizzie Deane, Aimée Fisher, Michelle Francis, Gabriela Garcia, Jenny Gayner, Pippa Gearing, Catherine Hannay, Aimée Hodnett, Claudia Kariuki, Alex Lodge, Carolyn Maitland, Natalie Moore-Williams, Sarah O’Connor, Louise Olley, Alfie Parker, Laura Pick, Caroline Rodgers, Jordan Shaw, Elena Skye, Pippa Winslow, Alex Young

Sunday at the Musicals will take place at St. Paul’s Church (The Actors’ Church) in Covent Garden, London, on Sunday 26th November 2017. Doors will open at 7.00pm and the concert will begin at 7.30pm.

Tickets for the production, which is in aid of Marie Curie UK, can be purchased online now: www.ticketsource.co.uk/date/383903.

Carolyn Maitland will perform Songs Chosen By You Live at Zedel

West End star Carolyn Maitland will perform an intimate cabaret at the celebrated Live at Zedel, Piccadilly this weekend. The acclaimed performer – who is perhaps best known for portraying Ellen in the West End production of Miss Saigon – has created a unique show, with the set list put together from suggestions on social media.

Maitland – who recently wowed audiences as Sally Bowles in Cabaret – will be joined by some of her London stage colleagues, Marsha Songcome and Kieran Jae.

The show entitled Songs Chosen By You will feature Kris Rawlinson as MD and audiences can expert a variety of jazz, pop and musical twists all under the roof of the stunning art Novo venue.

Carolyn Maitland will perform Songs Chosen by You Live at Zedel on 28 October 9:15pm.

https://www.brasseriezedel.com/live-at-zedel/carolyn-maitland-songs-chosen-by-you-oct-2017/106481053

Review: ‘Fast becoming a renowned jazz virtuoso’ ★★★★★ Emma Hatton, Pizza Express Live

Although best known for her leading roles in the West End, Emma Hatton started her musical journey as a jazz singer and it’s with jazz and blues music that she admits to being most at home performing.

And in her latest solo show – at the new Pizza Express live in Holborn – the songstress performed a wonderfully mixed programme of jazz, blues and even some rock, but with the odd show tune also mixed in to ensure her musical theatre fans were content.

Emma Hatton has just finished playing the iconic role of Eva Peron in the West End production of Evita, but is perhaps best known for portraying the green witch Elphaba in the musical phenomenon Wicked.

But despite being an acclaimed leading lady, you’ll be struck by how grounded and humble Emma is, something which came across as she talked about the songs she was singing and the reasons for choosing them.

The new Pizza Express Live has a much better set up than the other two I have visited in Chelsea and Soho, with the staging area much more central, allowing for a better view for those in attendance. The four-piece band – led by MD Sean Green – comfortably filled the performance area and provided an extremely good quality sound throughout, taking their moments to shine, but never overpowering Emma’s vocals.

After starting with a rousing version of James Bay’s “If You Ever Wanna Be in Love”, followed by a gorgeous interpretation of Stevie Wonder’s “Knocks Me Off My Feet”, Emma performed a truly magnificent rendition of Imelda May’s “Black Tears”; her powerful vocals fitting the soaring melody to perfection.

Other act one highlights included a tribute to the late Glen Campbell – with a wonderful version of the country classic “Wichita Lineman” – and a couple by Sara Bareilles, with “City” (and some amazing riffs!) and “I Didn’t Plan It” from the musical Waitress.

Act two had a much more chilled vibe going on and after the James Bond theme “License to Kill” – originally performed by Gladys Knight – the audience was treated to a great version of “Hey Laura” by one of Emma’s more modern influences, Gregory Porter.

The singer really showed her versatility by seamlessly switching from one style to another and with her slight West Country twang, chatted about her teenage obsession with Macaulay Culkin before performing The Temptations classic “My Girl”.

Heading back into musical theatre, Emma then performed an emotive and extremely potent rendition of “Burn” from the new American musical Hamilton, before finishing the show with the upbeat crowd-pleaser “You Got It” by Roy Orbison.

The real highlight was left for the encore however, when the band whipped up a storm and Emma belted out the Prince anthem “Purple Rain”, leaving the audience in raptures.

Emma Hatton is a real star of the stage, but with her solo cabaret performances is also fast becoming a renowned jazz virtuoso.

After the huge success of the number 1 Christmas collaboration with Anthony Strong Merry Christmas Darling, the pair will join forces again to release a new EP later this year and you’ll be able to see them perform together at Christmas in Leicester Square on 14 December. 

 

Photo by Troy David Johnston

 

 

Review: ‘A once in a lifetime show’ ★★★★★ Kristin Chenoweth, London Palladium

There are few performers who could pack the London Palladium for a one-off concert. There are even fewer who could completely captivate the two thousand strong audience for an entire evening with just a piano as accompaniment and a collection of stories.

But Kristin Chenoweth is no ordinary performer and in a stripped back concert at the iconic Argyll Street venue she proved why she is seen as musical theatre royalty.


It’s difficult to describe just how charismatic Chenoweth is without sounding gushing. But the stage star – who is small in stature – somehow managed to fill the cavernous auditorium, reaching every corner and every person with her dazzling disposition, while maintaining a feeling of intimacy throughout.

From the very first entrance the audience erupted with adulation and after beginning with “Should I be Sweet” – which featured on her 2001 Let Yourself Go album – Kristin launched into her trademark self-deprecating and down to earth story telling.

There’s no doubt that Kristin Chenoweth is vocally one of the best in the business – her range is phenomenal and her ability to effortlessly switch from one musical style to another is remarkable – but it’s in the delivery where she really leads the field. When extracting every bit of emotion or humour from each lyric, she is able to completely connect with her audience. You could have heard a pin drop, such was the silent awe throughout the more meaningful numbers like “I Get Along Without You Very Well” and the glorious “Moon River”. Other act one highlights included an extremely emotional version of “Bring Him Home” from Les Misérables, “I Could Have Danced All Night” from My Fair Lady – which showcased her extraordinary soprano voice – and the religious anthem “Upon this Rock” for which she was joined onstage by the Choir of the Arts Educational School.

After returning to the stage after the interval bedecked in a shimmering slip and matching thigh-high silver boots, Wicked fans were treated to the song for which Kristin Chenoweth is renowned; “Popular” (so perfectly performed it sounded as if we were listening to the original recording) before the songstress was joined onstage by another former Wicked star, Rachel Tucker for a stunning rendition of the duet “For Good”.

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There were homages to many of her influences throughout the show too (a number of who were in attendance) including British musical theatre star Elaine Paige, lyricist Lesley Bricusse, composer Andrew Lippa and director of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown – for which Chenoweth won a Tony award in 1999 – Michael Mayer.

Stand out numbers in act two included a gorgeous version of the country classic “You Were Always On My Mind” mashed up with Sondheim’s “Losing My Mind” and the funny little ditty “Taylor the Latte Boy” along with another belter performed with the Choir of the Arts Educational School to close the show.

You can’t help but feel like you’ve been in the presence of greatness when you find yourself anywhere near Kristin Chenoweth; such is the positive energy which she emanates and her encore performance – without a microphone –  of “Smile” left the audience in no doubt they had witnessed a once in a lifetime show. Is Kristin Chenoweth a goddess? I think so.

Photo by Danny Kaan

Bring your bagpipes for an evening to celebrate the best of Scotland & Musical Theatre with Shona White & Kieran Brown

A pair of seasoned Scottish West End performers are bringing a touch of Celtic charm to the Arts Theatre just in time for St Andrews Day, in an evening to celebrate the best of Scotland and Musical Theatre.

In a show entitled Scots in the City, Shona White (Wicked, Mamma Mia, Chess) and Kieran Brown (The Phantom of the Opera,Wicked Les Miserables), alongside musical director Niall Bailey will be joined by talented Scottish musicians and some of the best Scots voices in the West End, showcasing the rich Celtic musical history of Scotland in this unique celebration of all things Caledonia! There will be a special Scottish quiz with prizes to be won and ticket holders will be treated to some real tastes of Scotland!

“We are delighted to be sharing this evening of song celebrating our mutual love of Scotland with a London audience. We are both fiercely proud of our deep Scottish roots, and also proud to be Londoners, so this is a unique opportunity to combine both. We are planning a few surprises along the way, and alongside Niall, our musicians and special guests, we hope the audience will leave with smiles on their faces and an understanding of the unique rich musical landscape of our bonnie bonnie homeland!”

So bring your bagpipes, flash your very best tartan and prepare to be swept away by sweeping Scottish melodies – and Andrew Lloyd Webber as you’ve never heard him before!

Scots in the City will be at The Arts Theatre on Thursday 30 November at 8.30pm

Ahead of her Cabaret at Tea Time at Lauderdale House, Shona White takes our Sugar Rush Quiz

West End favourite Shona White is set to thrill audiences with her dazzling vocals next weekend when she performs a very special cabaret at Lauderdale House. The songstress – who is perhaps best known for her portrayals of Elphaba in Wicked and Donna in MAMMA MIA! – will headline the Cabaret at Tea Time event and will be supported by London stage stars Stewart Briggs and Tim McArthur.

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Shona took some time off from her preparations to take our Sugar Rush Quiz.

  1. What are you currently working on?

I have been enjoying exploring new work, most recently Page to Stage at The Other Palace and The Break at The Arts Theatre. There is a lot of exciting new writing out there at the moment. I’m also gearing up for my next Lauderdale House cabaret which is this Sunday 15th.

  1. What is the one thing that has helped you to become successful?

I think after 20 years in this crazy business it must be tenacity! This is not the easiest profession to work in but I’m still here!

  1. What is your favourite Book?

I always find these questions hard to answer as there are so many good books/songs/films!  My favourite book I have read fairly recently is The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. I have subsequently watched the movie but the book was far superior as is often the case. I have her new one ready to go! I don’t often find time to read but when I do I love a good autobiography.

  1. What are you currently watching on TV?

There is so much good British drama on at the moment. I have just finished Dr Foster. I watched the first season on catch up so I could watch season 2 with the nation. Fantastic acting! I hope there will be a 3rd as they left me wanting more…

I’m also enjoying Liar.

  1. Would you choose the cinema, theatre or a restaurant for a night out?

That’s hard as I love all 3! I guess if pushed I’d have to say restaurant. One of my favourite things to do is dine out. I’m a real foodie!

  1. What’s your favourite sweet?

Dessert or sweetie? Dessert anything salted caramel at the moment! Sweets I love a simple Dairy Milk bar or Haribo. I have a sweet tooth!

  1. What did you want to be when you were a child?

 An air hostess as I thought it was super glamorous!

  1. What was the naughtiest thing you did when you were a child?

I have always been attracted to shiny things and as a little girl on a trip to our village chemist with my mum, unbeknownst to her, I took glittery nail polishes from the shelf. My mum was mortified when she found them and marched me straight back to own up and apologise!

  1. What is your proudest achievement to date?

There are so many shows and parts I am proud of. I’ve been around a long time! My favourite role was probably Florence in Chess. Nothing makes me prouder than making my parents proud though! Not that I want to make people cry but when they are in the audience a few tears of pride give me a reason to keep doing what I’m doing.

  1. What’s next?

There are a few new shows coming up next year I’ve got my eye on!

For now I’m keeping busy with solo projects. I am also an Ambassador for Adoption UK, an Associate of The Royal Academy of Music and I may have another position to add to my list very soon! Watch this space…

In homage to Lauderdale House’s glorious past – after the House was restored in 1893 it served as the Waterlow Park tearoom for 70 years- they have introduced a Cabaret at Tea Time with a ticket offer that combines afternoon tea plus cabaret ticket.

You can join Shona White for Cabaret at Tea Time at Lauderdale on Sunday 15 October at 15:30. You can find more details on the website http://www.lauderdalehouse.co.uk/page.asp?ID=2494&PID=1&PVID=3240

J. J. Abrams to join Michael Giacchino at 50th birthday party at the Royal Albert Hall

Star Trek, Lost and Star Wars: Episode VII director J. J. Abrams will join his friend and collaborator, movie music titan Michael Giacchino, at the composer’s 50th birthday party at the Royal Albert Hall next month.

Abrams and War for the Planet of the Apes filmmaker Matt Reeves have been added to the stellar line-up of Giacchino’s first ever major career retrospective on Friday 20 October, which will showcase his scores from the likes of Rogue One, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Super 8, Jurassic World, The Incredibles, and Up – for which he won an Oscar, BAFTA, Grammy and Golden Globe.

Michael Giacchino said: “I am honoured that these incredible filmmakers are taking the time out of their schedules to join me on that stage at the Royal Albert Hall.

“I am fortunate to call them friends, and thrilled that they will be there to celebrate with me. In many ways, this is their show as well, because it was their vision and storytelling that inspired the music we’ll be performing with the Cinematic Sinfonia that evening.”

Abrams and Reeves complete a virtual ‘who’s who’ of hot Hollywood filmmaking talent appearing on-stage at Michael Giacchino at 50, alongside Brad Bird, Pete Docter, Gareth Edwards, Andrew Stanton, Colin Trevorrow and Carlton Cuse. They’ll be on hand to introduce musical suites from their films – and to share the stories behind them.

The concert will be hosted by self-described “maker of things” Adam Savage, (from US TV sensation Mythbusters), who said: “As a movie geek, it’s insane to think that Michael has penned music for many of my all-time favorite movies – hell, I think I have a costume or prop from nearly every one of his scored films! Being his friend is the icing on the cake. Emceeing his birthday at the Royal Albert Hall?! I have to pinch myself. It’s going to be a stellar evening and I can’t wait.”

Also announced today are Bond, the best-selling string quartet, who will play a new arrangement of ‘Married Life’ with orchestra, from Giacchino’s Oscar-winning score to Up.

Giacchino himself will share conducting duties with maestro Ludwig Wicki, a familiar face to fans of the Hall’s acclaimed ‘Films in Concert’ series, and the program will span Giacchino’s musical work from across the last 20 years, as well as giving the audience a personal glimpse of the composer through stories and home movies from his childhood.

Abrams and Giacchino have worked together since the hit TV series, Alias, and on feature films including Star Trek, Mission: Impossible 3, and Super 8. Reeves and Giacchino have collaborated four times, their most recent project being this summer’s critically-acclaimed War for the Planet of the Apes.

A portion of the proceeds from this concert will go directly to the Royal Albert Hall’s Education & Outreach projects to spread the positive powers of music to new audiences and communities.

Michael Giacchino at 50 is part of the Hall’s Festival of Film, which runs from 7 October to 3 November, and features 25 events across seven spaces, headlined by Film in Concert presentations of Jaws, Fantasia and The Addams Family, alongside a celebration of the legendary James Horner (TitanicAliensAvatar) and a world premiere career retrospective of James Newton Howard (The Hunger Games, The Dark KnightFantastic Beasts).

Friday 20 October, 7:30pm www.royalalberthall.com

Love Actually Live Concert with full orchestra set to tour the UK

It is one of the world’s best-loved modern Christmas films, having become synonymous with the season for many, and now Love Actually will be screened live across the UK as part of a huge concert tour, featuring a full orchestra performing the enchanting score.

Kicking off the holiday season and getting many into the holiday spirit, the tour will begin at the London Palladium on 11th November, before travelling onto Manchester, Glasgow, and Birmingham, before finishing up in Edinburgh.

Directed by Richard Curtis and originally released in cinemas in 2003, Love Actually tells ten separate yet interweaving stories of love around Christmas time.

The film features an all-star ensemble cast, including Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Laura Linney, Bill Nighy, Martine McCutcheon, Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Keira Knightley Rowan Atkinson, Martin Freeman, and many more.

A full, live orchestra will perform Craig Armstrong’s evocative score at these shows, with the film being projected onto a huge screen. Armstrong is one of the UK’s most recognised film composers, with his work being awarded a BAFTA for his Achievement in Film Music.

With the film becoming a Christmas tradition for many, audiences attending the Love Actually Live Concert Tour will be treated to a unique way to watch the film that has gotten so many into the holiday spirit for the last 14 years.

 

1st December – Manchester Bridgewater Hall

2nd December – Bristol Colston Hall

3rd December – Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

4th December – Birmingham Symphony Hall

5th December – Edinburgh Usher Hall

10th December – London Theatre Royal Drury Lane – Matinee and Evening Performances