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Review of Ferris and Milnes – Christmas Cracker at the Ambassadors Theatre

Dominic Ferris
Dominic Ferris (Samuel Black Photography)

Dominic Ferris and Martin Milnes debut in the West End with their production Ferris & Milnes – Christmas Cracker. They bill it as a theatrical extravaganza and I am pleased to say they deliver on this.

Milnes has, what can only be described as, a phenomenal vocal range. The high notes he can hit and sustain is beyond impressive. He describes himself as more classical and legitimate than Ferris who is able to deliver a wide range of styles both vocally and through his piano playing. Which I should point out was rather impressive – it was flawless and impassioned.

We are treated to an impressive array of songs. The first act appears to be set as the rehearsal for the Christmas Cracker. It is set in Milnes’ front room, which by happy coincidence happens to have a Steinway piano – Milnes is piano-sitting. Of course, Ferris is not allowed to touch it! He lasts all of 3 seconds before he is tinkling the ivories. The songs were great to listen to, some were funny, some were jaw-droppingly impressive but all were delivering on the theatrical extravaganza promised. ‘Decomposing Composers’ is at its core a list of composers who are no longer with us, just delivered with humour and in a toe-tapping way. ‘Bethlehem’ is where we are first introduced to what the Arts Ed Choir can actually do and they sounded lovely. ‘Christmas Mashup Medley’ was exactly what it states it is, definitely entertaining and hilarious. 

Martin Milnes
Martin Milnes (Samuel Black Photography)

Act 2 brings us the show they were rehearsing for. Again a lot of great numbers here with the Choral Sequence – ‘Carol of the Bells’, ‘Sir Christimas’, ‘Once In Royal’ and ‘Angels’ Chorus’ standing out. However the hands down best part is where Ferris & Milnes give what people remember them for – ‘The Entire Score of West Side Story in 8 minutes’. Brilliant in every way.

Throughout the show, Milnes just delivers and is the highlight for me. His comic-timing, little actions, noises and impressive vocal ability just brought the whole show together. Which shouldn’t take away from anyone else in the show, everyone was fantastic. The “marriage” of Ferris and Milnes is excellent. Their voices together just work and I hope it is a double act that continues to produce superb entertainment.

It was a one-off show so unfortunately you can’t go and see it.  I have no hesitation in recommending them as a great evening of entertainment. So, if you see anything else by Ferris & Milnes go and see that, I know I will be.

4 stars

Review by Lee Cogger

Musical theatre comedy double act Ferris & Milnes with their debut West End show ‘Ferris & Milnes – Christmas Cracker’ on Tuesday 13th December at 7.30pm, at the Ambassadors Theatre.

Ferris & Milnes Christmas Cracker - Full Company
Ferris & Milnes Christmas Cracker – Full Company (Samuel Black Photography)

Olivier Award-winning director and choreographer Bill Deamer leads the production team as Production Consultant, with musical staging by Philip Joel and a musical ensemble from Arts Educational School. The musical programme includes an exciting and eclectic blend ranging from much-loved choral works through to golden show tunes, and seasonal standards. Ferris & Milnes will also be following up on their popular musical mash-ups “33 Sondheim Numbers In 5 Minutes” and “31 West End Musicals in Under 10 Minutes” by bringing “The Entire Score of West Side Story In 8 Minutes” to the West End stage.

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