On a rainy and gloomy Sunday evening, where the wind instantly blows your brolly and turns you into Mary Poppins, there is not too much that gets me out of my cosy flat excited to go out! However, last night my sister and I had a date with West End on-Sea Production’s The Follow Spot taking place at Proud Cabaret City.
The headline act was Hannah Jane Fox, star of stage and screen, some may know her from We Will Rock You or even a Walkers Crisps’ advert! The evening’s hostess with the mostess was musical impressionist Jess Robinson, (Dead Ringers and The Now Show) and there were two very talented support acts, Shane Hampshire and Rachel Parris. As always the performers were accompanied by a very slick live band.
The doors open at 6.30 (with the show at 7.30) and we arrived nice an early and decided to try their special priced meal deal – where you get 2 courses for £20. We ate our way through their delicious gourmet food and fine wine, and by the time dessert was served the show was just starting. The host, Jess, made us feel instantly welcome and via a healthy amount of audience participation. We were treated to some musical cocktail’s including very funny and well executed mash ups of Britney Spears singing ‘500 Miles and Lily Allen singing ‘Ace of Spades’
So, audience all warmed up, in good spirits and excited for the headline act. Hannah Jane fox was fantastic. She more than deserved the top bill as headlining act of the evening. Hannah gave us a bit of everything, from musical theatre to country music, Queen and Blur to original self-penned autobiographical treats. Hannah’s own songs had us in tears of laughter and sadness. I was especially moved when she sang a song she wrote for her children about the cruel world we live in and how she must tell them this world we live in is full of beauty.
Hannah also sang a song about giving birth with the aid of morphine – this fabulous tune ‘Mama’s on the Morphine’ was a personal highlight for me, especially as we saw her sing with a puppet doctor and wearing a hospital gown with obligatory gap in the back, framed by a set of hospital screens. It was like I was on the morphine with her!
Hannah used many props through the show to enhance the comic nature of her songs, we watched her hand out drink advisory leaflets and at one point – points a toy gun at audience member Ben Forster – Ben was with other recognisable West Enders who came to support Hannah and The Follow Spot cabaret.
This was a truly unique special show giving fans of all ages the opportunity to see and hear Hannah perform her own music. I had no idea just how much I would love the entire set and enjoy so many original songs.
West End on-Sea seem to know what there are doing with picking their acts to make sure you will get great value for your £15 ticket. And as you may have realised through reading this review, the night is not just enjoyed by fans, it is also highly praised and enjoyed by others in the industry too. So you never know who you may spot in the audience.
Review by Bonnie Britain
Hannah Jane Fox
Hannah was the first to play the lead role of Scaramouche in the original West End cast of We Will Rock You. She also played Maureen in the West End production of RENT, so has spent a lot of time rocking out! More recently Hannah has been on CBBC’s No. 1 hit show Millie Inbetween as Sharon.
The show features some of Hannah’s original songs in advance of her forthcoming one-woman show.
Follow Hannah Jane Fox on Twitter @hannahjanefox
Book tickets for forthcoming productions:
Monday 23rd February 2015