West End On Sea are a company that originated in Brighton, however have recently started performing in their new venue, Proud Cabaret in London. Proud Cabaret City is modelled on a 1920’s speakeasy and offers an evening of fine dining and entertainment of unrivalled prestige. West End On Sea – aka The Follow Spot in London – began their spring season kicking off with the legend that is Anna-Jane Casey. The Follow Spot will have West End stars coming to perform at the Proud Cabaret every other Sunday until the end of April. This week it was the turn of Julie Atherton and I went along to check it out!
In her career she has amassed a catalogue of achievements. In 2005 she was on the Original Soundtrack of the Chichester Festival Theatre production of Just So. On 3 October 2009 she finished playing the roles of Kate Monster and Lucy the Slut in the West End production of Avenue Q. She released her debut album, A Girl of Few Words, on 2 October 2006, she then released her second album titled No Space for Air in the Summer of 2010. She starred as Sister Mary Robert in the first UK tour of Sister Act: The Musical in 2011. In 2013 she was featured as ‘French Teacher’ in the world premiere of the musical LIFT by Craig Adams and Ian Watson, at the Soho Theatre. This was followed in 2014 by the title role in Thérèse Raquin, again by Craig Adams with Book and Lyrics by Nona Shepphard. After a sold out run at The Finborough Theatre the production transferred to Park Theatre in Finsbury Park.
Atherton has just wrapped up a stellar year in 2014 with the release of her third album titled ‘Rush of Life’, with songs written for her by Craig Adams, Dougal Irvine, Lance Horne, George Maguire and Benedict.
As seen through her credits and her set list from the evening Atherton enjoys new writing and is somewhat of a pioneer of it. Throughout the show in between songs the audience were treated to insights into Atherton’s life – which always bodes well for cabaret acts as the audience feel more connected which creates a more casual atmosphere. We were treated to knowing about the awkward situations involving Atherton and internet dating apps. Atherton’s bright personality and hilarious stories made the night thoroughly enjoyable and that’s not even taking into account her vocals.
Atherton is such a phenomenal performer. Her song choices, her vocals and her acting were all incredible. From start to finish, watching Atherton’s acting choices was like watching a master class, her delivery of such a variety of songs was just unbelievable. She had such a range of songs spanning from: Someone To Fall Back On to Portrait Of A Princess to Lost In Translation to My Party Dress. All of which were conveyed with the utmost conviction and believability. Atherton’s vocals were near faultless. Through the entirety of her set list, Atherton showed so many different vocal quality’s which were constantly growing in gorgeousness.
The evenings support acts were also very talented. The compare of the evening, Jess Robinson, started the evening with the game ‘The Wheels of Sixty-Four Tunes’ which was a brilliant ice breaker. As the show continued and more games were played the hilarity and talent of Robinsons impressions were thoroughly showcased. Following Robinson was the second support act of the evening, Jack Shalloo. Shalloo sung a variety of songs including a couple of his own from his album ‘London Soul’ which were both hilarious and heart-warming. The third support act of the night, Lawrence Owen, delighted the audience to his comical re-imaginings of Disney classics amongst other original comedy works getting howls of laughter from audience members.
Standout moments from this evenings Follow Spot production were Atherton’s Someone To Fall Back On for the beautiful vulnerability, Lost In Translation for her heart-wrenching delivery and Rush Of Life for demonstrating the power behind Atherton’s voice. Support act standout moment has to be Shalloo with his cover of Sam Smith’s Lay Me Down due to the utter emotion being laid bare for all audience members to see.
Reviewed by Thomas Yates
Next up in this cabaret series will be Daniel Boys on 15 March 2015. Click here for more information