Rachel Tucker – St James Theatre

Tucker-2West End star Rachel Tucker returned to the St James Theatre for two special shows last weekend to celebrate being back in London after a stint on Broadway, starring in Stings new musical The Last Ship.

With a theatre packed out with friends, family and fans, Rachel took the audience on a well thought out journey of New York inspired songs and some great medleys of unexpected numbers. Opening with On Broadway and mixing in elements of Alicia Keys Empire State of Mind and Billy Joels New York State of Mind, Rachel showed in her first song that this was not going to be something fans have seen before. Throughout the show she mixed in well loved Wicked songs and Irish ditties, along with a few songs from her most recent Broadway role in Stings The Last Ship. She even sang a couple of Carole King numbers after telling the audience she had auditioned for the part in Beautiful. A duet with her sister of I Know Him So Well from Chess gave the show even more of a welcoming home feeling and Rachel’s tribute to Doris Day and Calamity Jane was superb.

You can tell that Rachel grew up singing in the pubs and clubs of Belfast, a trait which can cause singers to be pigeon holed in their careers. However, Rachel seems to have taken the cabaret tricks and comfortableness of engaging with an audience and transformed herself into the Irish version of Liza Minelli, with a style that could easily appeal to the mass markets. Her show at the St James Theatre was perfectly constructed, well thought out and powerfully performed. Cabaret acts could learn a thing or two from this girl.

The show was closed, aptly with a rendition of New York New York, nicely closing one chapter of Rachel’s life and moving on to the next. She can be seen soon at the Menier Chocolate Factory playing a dominatrix in Alan Ayckbourn’s Communicating Doors. A very different role but none the less I’m sure one she will have much success with, showing further layers of her acting versatility.

Reviewed by West End Wilma

Photograph by Caitlin McNaney.