Imagine that you are a musical theatre actor and have appeared in a version (West End, Touring, International or Hollywood movie) of the most successful musical of all times, ‘Les Miserable’ but have now finished that and are waiting for the next show to come along. What would you do with your time? Well, one of the things you could do is talk to West End Production (UK) about joining their wonderful collective “Boys of the Barricade” which had its launch last night at the Charing Cross Theatre.
Hosted by co-creator Scott Garnham – a man with an audience pleasing line in banter – “Boys of the Barricade” – gave the audience over two hours of wonderful music as the performers belted out a huge range of songs. As you would expect, there was some material from ‘Les Mis’ in there – and the arrangement for ‘One Day More’ used at the end of Act I was really fantastic – but by no means did the entire performance consist of songs from that particular show as we were treated to a musical smorgasbord of different songs and style.
The line-up of talent was extremely high and the lead boys – Andy Coxon, John Addison, Simon Schofield, Kieran Brown – sang together – often taking it in turns to sing the lead in a particular number – to deliver some of my favourite music – the Motown and Frankie Valli compilations in particular hit a spot with me. As if the highly talented main boys weren’t enough to keep us happy, we were treated to some superb guest artists including Craig Mather (doing a surprisingly upbeat version of ‘Empty Chairs at Empty Tables’) and Oliver Saville with ‘The Impossible Dream’ to name but a few.
Overall, “Boys of the Barricade” proved to be a lovely way to spend a wet Sunday night. The boys themselves seemed really at ease with each other and were obviously having as much of a good time on stage as we were down in the seats. Audience participation was encouraged and there were a lot of people joining in during the Blues Brothers’ segment – another of my personal favourites, it’s almost like they did a set list just for me. I should mention that the musical arrangement by Chris Guard was excellent.
As a staged entertainment, “Boys of the Barricade” is a lovely concept delivered by a highly talented group of professionals that will guarantee the audience leave happy and smiling, and probably singing loudly.
Review by Terry Eastham
Monday 27th July 2015