BEYOND THE BARRICADE
at the Civic Theatre
Hear the big numbers from your favourite musicals, bludgeoned into submission by confident vocalists with a wealth of experience from Shaftesbury Avenue to the cruise ships.
Back again in the Civic's post-panto slot, the four Les Mis survivors who make up Beyond the Barricade, took us seamlessly through a raft of modern musicals, from Phantom to Jersey Boys, with a cursory backward glance to the "dim and distant past" - Carousel.
Though there's no chorus, and a backing group of just three supporting the excellent Andy Reiss, keyboard and lead vocalist, there's no shortage of kilowatts here. The anthem from Chess, Tell Me It's Not True from Blood Brothers, Why God Why from Miss Saigon, all given strong, muscular performances. There is a danger that everything will end up sounding similar, Superstar and Sunset Boulevard all done in the same style. And some musicals, Lion King for one, don't really survive having the staging stripped away, though we did have busy back-projection to remind us where we were, in a more or less kitsch kaleidoscopic montage.
The few quieter, wittier moments were welcome: It's All For The Best, from Godspell, was a delight – Reiss duetting with David Fawcett, a hardworking Valjean back in the day. And it was in the Les Misérables finale, not surprisingly, that all four found themselves most comfortable – a superb Stars from Reiss, I Dreamed A Dream from Rebecca Vere, On My Own from Beth Humphries, and a gutsy One Day More encore from this popular tribute band, now in its fourteenth year of touring.