REVIEW: Lea Salonga (Nottingham Royal Concert Hall) ★★★★★

Nottingham audiences were treated to a night with Lea Salonga at Royal Concert Hall this week.

Lighting up Broadway and West End stages for thirty years, Lea Salonga is also the voice of many childhoods, having put her name to the likes of Disney’s Mulan (Fa Mulan) and Aladdin (Princess Jasmine). She also starred in the original cast of Miss Saigon and boasts a very impressive collection of awards, including an Olivier. This is her first UK solo tour, and it does not disappoint.

The phrase “never meet your heroes” doesn’t refer to Lea Salonga. Her voice is every bit as perfect as it was thirty years ago. If anything, she’s better than ever.

Supported by an astronomical band that shares the stage with her, Lea takes the audience through her well-loved repertoire of the hits she’s known for. It was truly magical to hear her sing Reflection and musical classics such as an On My Own / I Dreamed A Dream mash up. It was particularly charming that, instead of singing with someone from her band, she chose to select a member from the audience to join her for A Whole New World.

The set list also comprises several covers of a huge range of artists from Nina Simone to One Direction. Some of the covers weren’t personally my cup of tea (the song choice, that is, not her ability to deliver them which was always flawless), but I generally thought there was a good mix for an audience with such a wide age range. There was something for everyone.

I would never normally comment on people’s looks because it’s anything but relevant to their performance. However, I can’t help but mention how absolutely incredible Lea looked, starting the evening wearing a fierce suit, and finishing the show in an evening gown that sparkled almost as much as she did.

The entire night was a real treat and I highly recommend making a trip to the theatre if she’s visiting a town near you.

Reviewed by Rosie Bambury

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