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A Night At The Musicals with Christina Modestou

A Night At The Musicals with Christina Modestou
A Night At The Musicals with Christina Modestou

Modified lyrics to ‘Part of Your World’ from Disney’s The Little Mermaid kick off proceedings in A Night at the Musicals, emphasising how wonderful it is for Christina Modestou to find herself back on stage after a long hiatus, caused of course by that pandemic (you know the one). Modestou’s musical director, Richard Wetherall, put in a tremendous performance, knocking out tunes from the likes of We Will Rock You and various Stephen Sondheim musicals on a grand piano, used during the week by Southwark Playhouse’s current resident show, The Last Five Years. The piano arrangements for a medley of songs from Lucy Moss and Toby Marlow’s musical Six were a particular highlight.

As far as musical theatre concerts go, your reviewer really has nothing negative to report with regards to this one. There was something for (very nearly) everyone in this broad range, with a set long enough to genuinely justify having an interval: the originally advertised 100-minute running time was underestimated by 45 minutes or so. And yet when Modestou told the audience that her original longlist of song possibilities for the concert would probably stretch to a ’24-hour marathon’, if I were still young enough to have the stamina for that sort of thing I would have considered attending such an event.

Modestou has the right sort of personality for a musical cabaret performance, peppering the setlist with anecdotes about shows she had been in, shows she was in at school (I was astounded at the sheer number of musicals her school put on – possibly the only theatrical experiences I ever had at school were trips to the local pantomime, and even that wasn’t every year) and shows she would like to be in but may or may not happen. While I liked her version of ‘As If We Never Said Goodbye’ from Sunset Boulevard, she’s quite right: Norma Desmond is a role that might just have to wait for quite a few years yet. And it is a slight surprise she hasn’t got Wicked on her list of credits – an Act One closer mashup of ‘The Wizard and I’ and ‘Defying Gravity’ brought the house down.

Most of the musical numbers were familiar, especially to those who are regular patrons of musical productions – ‘Being Alive’ from Company, ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’ from The Wizard of Oz, that sort of thing. On the other hand, Modestou could sing a list of births, deaths and marriages and make it sound like something you’d want to listen to again. She comes somewhat close to doing just that with ‘Everybody Wants To Do A Musical’, from Nick & Nora, a relatively obscure musical that played nine performances on Broadway in December 1991. Apparently, it was nicknamed Nick & Snora because, well, it was a snooze-fest – but you wouldn’t have known it listening to Modestou’s rendering.

Three special guests all gave excellent contributions to the evening. Oliver Tompsett, most recently seen in the West End playing Shakespeare in & Juliet, performed a stunning and hilarious duet with Modestou, and also treated us to ‘King of the World’ from Jason Robert Brown’s song cycle Songs For A New World. A recent graduate from South Wales, Emma Kirk, sang ‘Get Out and Stay Out’ from 9 to 5: The Musical, in a version that was frankly better than some performances of that song I’ve heard over the years – including the West End. Kyle Birch, who was in Once On This Island in August 2019 (alongside the now Olivier-nominated Sam Tutty) was hugely impressive singing ‘This Is The Moment’ from Jekyll & Hyde. One can only hope the future burns bright for everyone involved in this concert. A magical experience from beginning to end.

5 Star Rating

Review by Chris Omaweng

Join original star of Six, Christina Modestou, for an evening of your favourite musical theatre tunes.

Featuring music from all-time favourite musicals: West Side Story, Cabaret, Funny Girl, We Will Rock You, In the Heights, Waitress, Six and many more.

Christina’s powerful and versatile voice will take you through the musical ages from the early unforgettable classics to today’s absolute belters with a few musical mashups and surprises in between.

Musical Director Richard Wetherell

Written by Christina Modestou and Rebecca Hickey

Cast: Christina Modestou

Christina will also be sharing the stage with some very special guests:

October 11th – Waylon Jacobs (Hamilton, Memphis)
October 18th – Oliver Tompsett (& Juliet, Kinky Boots)
October 25th – Jenna Russell (Fun Home, Grey Gardens)
November 1st – Renée Lamb (Ain’t Misbehavin’, Six)

Arden & Moore present
A Night At The Musicals
with Christina Modestou
11 OCT – 1 NOV 2020
https://southwarkplayhouse.co.uk/

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