For one day only Rachel Tucker returned to British soil with a brand new concert at the intimate St James Theatre. Fresh from New York where she recently originated the role of Meg in Sting’s musical The Last Ship, Tucker brought us a selection of show tunes, eighties pop classics and new writing – all brilliantly supported by her five-piece band.
From the offset Tucker’s love of New York was clear. The show opened with a strong mash-up of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil’s ‘On Broadway’, and Alicia Keys’ ‘Empire State of Mind’. She was on fire from the first note and it has to be said, she looked fantastic.
The Broadway theme continued with songs from Calamity Jane, which also included some light choreography, and reminded the audience that she truly is a top-notch all-round performer. Sticking with musical theatre, she later sang a few numbers from The Last Ship, including ‘If You Ever See Me Talking to a Sailor’, which was vocally a perfect fit for her.
Throughout the entire show she sang and spoke with such passion and honesty about what has inspired her, from childhood to present, and this for me is what made the concert stand out. Tucker was like an open book, sharing personal stories and experiences which created an amazing connection between her and the audience, who laughed and cried along with her. It was rather like a family affair – the audience was filled with her friends and family and Tucker invited her sister Margaret to join her for a duet of ‘I Know Him So Well’, which they grew up singing together. Their voices blended together beautifully and it was lovely to see their close bond on stage. The other duet of the night was with performer Giles Terrera, who brought with him a charming energy and great blues vocals.
Tucker then changed it up a little and opened the second half with a couple of well-known Irish songs – ‘Our Wedding Day’ and ‘That’s Belfast’. They were both stunning and her talk of ‘home’ fondly reminded me of my Northern Irish roots. She then continued surprising the audience and threw in music from Rent, Funny Girl and The Rat Pack, before finishing with an incredible version of ‘Defying Gravity’, during which she used the “Fiyero” riff to divert into ‘No Good Deed’ and wow the audience into an instant standing ovation. After leaving the stage and an audience which was screaming for more, she returned and finished the show with Frank Sinatra’s ‘New York, New York’ during which the audience continued to stand, clap and sing along.
This was truly an amazing solo show with songs and an atmosphere that anyone would love. Bravo to Rachel Tucker for bringing an emotional, powerful and vocally delightful performance back to London.
Review by Sarena Mcilwaine
For one day only, Rachel Tucker returned to St. James Theatre with her all new solo show: Back From Broadway 3pm and 7pm 19th April. Rachel’s return to the West End follows her acclaimed Broadway debut starring as Meg Dawson in Sting’s musical The Last Ship directed by Joe Mantello.
Tuesday 21st April 2015