Lauren Samuels and Lucie Jones: Proud Cabaret
The Proud Cabaret City venue is an unusual venue for a singing cabaret, the setting, lighting and decorations of the room all allude to it being a burlesque bar – creating a very uncomfortable atmosphere from the beginning. This is soon swept away when the star performers of the night, Lauren Samuels and Lucie Jones take the stage in drop dead gorgeous dresses.
Lauren was a runner up on BBC’s Over The Rainbow, catapulting her career in musical theatre playing many lead roles, such as: Scaramouche in We Will Rock You at the Dominion Theatre and World Arena Tour, Sandy in Grease whilst it was in town at the Piccadilly Theatre and recently finishing playing Jenny in Love Story at the Octagon Theatre in Bolton. Lucie was a finalists on The X Factor in Series Six. Since then she has had a similarly impressive career in Musical Theatre claiming roles such as Cosette in Les Miserables in town at the Queen’s Theatre, Victoria in American Psycho at the Almeida Theatre and Meat in We Will Rock You on the World Arena Tour where she and Lauren met.
Starting the night – and in hindsight the incredibly high standard of the night – with a duet cover of Sia’s Chandelier, Samuels and Jones instantly captivate the audience due to the beautiful arrangement and harmonies they and band composed. In the final chorus Samuels sings in full voice throughout – which few singers do – belting extremely high notes, before contrasting that with both of them singing A cappella to end the song. Throughout the duration of the night the girls sang a variety of songs covering lots of styles all of which were all chosen by them because they ‘liked the songs’.
One of the many styles the girls did brilliantly was character songs. The comedy highlights of the show were the songs Musical Theatre Boys, Party Dress and What Is This Feeling from the smash hit musical Wicked. However, the last song mentioned had a twist, the girls had cleverly altered the words to fit their situation as just before the song we were informed the girls share a house and have done for some years now, to which their altered lyrics were hilarious, simple and witty, the best way for comedy to be.
As aforementioned the girls tweaked songs for the performance. The major tweaking happened when they created their own medleys for the show. The Act One finale was a very sophisticatedly structured Disney Medley comprising of the songs from Disney classics such as Beauty and the Beast, Mulan, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Cinderella and Pocahontas. Additionally more contemporary Disney hits like Enchanted and Tangled were included, obviously knowing the age and calibre of people in the audience the classics were the best option for the girls to go for. They were both playful in the medley that it kept the interval electric and left the audience desperate for more. To close the show was another medley, this time the ultimate musical medley containing snippets of the no-go’s of audition songs, totalling fifteen!? Ranging from such classics as Les Mis, Chess and Cats as well as contrary numbers like The Last Five Years, Little Women and Jekyll and Hyde. The vast span of old and new, contemporary and legit and ballad and up tempo simply shows how exceedingly versatile both females are as vocalists.
Personal stand out moments from the show come from Disney Medley because of how much of a crowd pleaser it was – and because I’m a massive Disney fanatic! Additionally Samuels’ rendition of My Immortal, originally sung by Evanescence, was captivating, Lucie had just performed Party Dress which as we all know is a rather characterful, lively song and Samuels brought the whole room to her with that performance, highlighting the beauty of emotion in stillness. Equally, Jones’ encapsulating version of Movie In My Mind from Miss Saigon had the audience absolutely flabbergasted. Demonstrating how you do not need large sets and theatre magic to add spectacle to performances when you are able to deliver such a heart-wrenching interpretation as she did.
Reviewed by Tom Yates