REVIEW: AUDRA MCDONALD (Leicester Square Theatre) ★★★★

Audra McDonald Leicester Square Theatre

It’s one thing to be able to sing like an angel, but to possess the ability to completely captivate an audience is an extraordinary skill.

Six times Tony Award winner Audra McDonald is a rare talent who exudes an exultant eminence and in a series of intimate shows at the Leicester Square Theatre this week, the Broadway star is imparting some of her expertise.

Best known for appearances in the Broadway productions of Porgy and Bess and Ragtime, Audra McDonald has recently hit the big screens as part of the cast of the smash hit Disney film Beauty and the Beast. Equally at home performing in musicals, operas and plays, the actress is about to star in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill at the Wyndham’s Theatre and if the residency at the Leicester Square Theatre is anything to go by, West End audiences are in for real treat.

Taking the format of a chat show, McDonald is joined by Broadway colleague Seth Rudetsky for the evening of music and conversation, which gives the singer an opportunity to showcase both her glorious soprano voice and glittering personality.

Singing a whole host of rapturous refrains, McDonald’s vocals are of such a high quality, at times it’s as if you are listening to a recording. Standards including “Climb Every Mountain” and “Maybe this Time” are interspersed with charming anecdotes from an illustrious career spanning over 20 years in show business.

Husband and fellow Broadway star Will Swenson is even giving a solo spot and entrains the gathering with a comical rendition of “Pirate King” from The Pirates of Penzance.

This is a rare chance to get up close and personal with a revered musical performer and the series of shows at the Leicester Square Theatre are a must for fans of Audra McDonald or for anyone who is looking for an absorbing and amusing evening of entrainment.

Reviewed by Jon White
Photo: Autumn de Wilde

Audra McDonald plays at the Leicester Square Theatre until 15 April 2017