January 25, 2016  //  By:   //  Cabaret, Reviews  //  Comments are off

Linzi Hateley is no stranger to the West End, having had a fruitful career over the past twenty eight years. This marks her Crazy Coqs cabaret debut with a four night retrospective of her career. Opening and closing the show with a stripped back version Cyndi Lauper’s 80’s hit ‘True Colors’, Linzi makes her way through the audience to take her place on the stage, back in the limelight.

Linzi famously created the title role in Carrie the Musical which debuted on Broadway in 1988 and closed after just five performances. Linzi recalls being seventeen years old and on the biggest journey of her life, only to have it all come crashing down around her due to scathing critics reviews which caused investors to withdraw from the production, leading it to close. Linzi tells stories of the show and how the famous blood scene came to be. “On the first preview they shone red lights on my face but that didn’t have much effect. On the second show they put wet, red sponges in the bucket for me to rub around my face but that just gave me red cheeks. So by the third show I said, why don’t you just throw blood over me. And they did.”

After her return to London she landed the role of Eponine in Les Miserables and Linzi performed a beautiful version of ‘On My Own’, also recalling that the pre-recorded scream that is played during the show is still her voice. The evening continued with hit after hit, reminding the audience of the huge shows she has been a part of over the years. The Narrrator in Joseph, Roxie in Chicago and most recently Chairy Barnum in the UK Tour of Barnum. On the night I saw the show, Linzi was joined on stage by a woman who has just finished playing the role of Carole King in the West End production of Beautiful, Katie Brayben. The two once played mother and daughter alongside each other in Mamma Mia and treated the audience to a rendition of Carole King’s  ‘You’ve Got a Friend’.

The evening became a family affair with Linzi’s daughter joining her on stage for a wonderful duet of the Beatles song ‘Here Comes The Sun’ before Linzi belted out the Mamma Mia classic ‘The Winner Takes It All’ and ‘Roxie’ from Chicago. A personal highlight for me was also ‘Meadowlark’ from The Bakers Wife. Linzi closed the show ‘Colours of My Life’ from Barnum which merged back in to ‘True Colors’ which started and ended the show.

Linzi Hately is a natural performer and gave a well balanced show of her greatest hits, interwoven with some beautiful classics. Making a well needed return to London, this show reminds us that maybe it is time she was back in the West End.

Reviewed by West End Wilma