Who’s feeling festive then? Decorations up, cards sent, presents bought and wrapped, wearing your Christmas jumper because you can, not just for charity? Nope, me neither. Every year, the spirit of Christmas seems to get further away. However, all that changed as I attended the West End Up Close concert in the fabulous surroundings of the Chapel of St Barnabas.
This annual charity event is a wonderful opportunity to hear from musical theatre actors, all veterans of various West End shows sing some of their favourite Christmas, and not so Christmassy songs. The six were Andrew Gallo, Earl Perkins, Evelyn Hoskins, Ian McIntosh, Jodie Jacobs and Tyrone Huntley, all performing under the watchful eye and distinctive piano playing of Musical Director James Taylor.
Real highlights of the show were many but some of my favourite songs were the first from Jodie who performed David Friedman’s “My Simple Wish (Rich, Famous & Powerful” which I think immediately became the new theme tune for everyone in the audience. I also loved Ian’s rendition of “I wanna Be Like You” and the extraordinary duet by Tyrone and Jodie singing a mash-up of “Get Here if you Can” and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas“, not to mention Andrew’s impassioned “I Don’t Remember Christmas“. In fact, although I didn’t know every song, they were all splendidly performed. Musical theatre actors put so much of themselves into every song they sing and this really shone through. This was singing at it highest level with no microphones, costumes, makeup or scenery just the intimate space of the chapel with the candlelight adding extra depth to the atmosphere and the wonderful acoustics meaning every word was heard wherever you sat.
All told West End Up Close was about as perfect a start to the Christmas period as you could wish for. A glass of mulled wine, a stunning venue and some beautiful singing. Seriously, if Ebenezer Scrooge had been there, he wouldn’t have needed to do all that mucking around with the ghosts. He would have walked out of St Barnabas, and into Soho Square imbued with the spirit of the season and wishing everyone he passed a very merry Christmas.
Review by Terry Eastham
Relative Motion’s second annual charity concert, West End Up Close at Christmas in partnership with The House of St. Barnabas, a charity and not-for-profit members club in Soho. After two sold out West End Up Close concerts in 2016, the 2017 concert includes six West End veterans performing their favourite seasonal songs.
• Jodie Jacobs (Rock of Ages, We Will Rock You) @Show_Jo
• Evelyn Hoskins (Spring Awakening, Mrs. Henderson Presents) @EvelynHoskins
• Tyrone Huntley (Jesus Chris Superstar, Dreamgirls) @tyronehuntley
• Andrew Gallo (Sunny Afternoon, Parade) @andy_gallo
• Earl Perkins (Beautiful – The Carole King Musical, Thriller Live!) @ThefutureEP
• Ian McIntosh (Beautiful – The Carole King Musical, The Commitments)
The House of St. Barnabas is a charitable organisation that puts those who are homeless and socially excluded back into meaningful work. All profits from the evening will go directly towards supporting the HOSB’s Employment Academy. Ticket holders are encouraged to enjoy the members club at the House of St. Barnabas pre- and post-show.
Director: Christopher Lane www.relativemotion.co.uk / @DirectorLane
Musical Director: James Taylor www.jtaylormusic.com / @JATaylor_90
Relative Motion – Josh McNorton & Christopher Lane
www.relativemotion.co.uk / @Relative_Motion
The House of St. Barnabas www.hosb.org.uk /@HoStBarnabas
West End Up Close at Christmas
The Chapel of St. Barnabas, 1 Greek Street, Soho Square, W1D 4NQ
Date: Wednesday 6th December 2017
Running Time: 80 minutes, no interval