Honeymoon in Vegas was a famous film. Then a celebrated Broadway show. And on Sunday night it was a fantastic West End concert
To start with, the London Musical Theatre Orchestra are brilliant. Jason Robert Brown’s orchestrations are always a treat, but to actually get to see them performed in front of you is something special, particularly when they are being conducted by the man himself. The orchestra produce an incredible dynamic and exciting sound and if I’m honest, listening to them for an evening would have been enough. However, at times the sound went a bit array which was a shame. I was sat fairly close to the stage and thus never fully out of earshot, but I imagine those sat at the back of the Palladium may have been disappointed at times, which is unfortunate as the sound that was made was fantastic.
Arthur Darvill’s Jack was charming and charismatic. Darvill has the ability to hold focus on a stage as large as the Palladium without any of the usual big musical production values. His portrayal of Jack is intelligent and funny but not caricature, he finds nuances and is completely believable, which is hard to achieve even with costumes and set. His connection with Samantha Barks’ Betsey is likeable and touching and they have excellent chemistry on stage, even in concert format where they aren’t making eye contact which is not an easy feat. Samantha Barks is of course a star in her own right as always, her gorgeous voice soaring above the music with ease. She is perfect for Jason Robert Brown’s style of music and completely understands the character. I am a big supporter of writers who create strong female characters, but have found often when these are put on stage, actors tend to shy away from playing the strength in fear of shoving it in the audience’s face. However, Samantha Barks completely understands Betsy and revels in her toughness and strong mind.
It was a fantastic evening with a truly brilliant orchestra and a wonderful cast. The ensemble were particularly impressive, taking on a huge range of roles across the show with energy and character. I hope we get to see more of Jason Robert Brown’s work grace a London stage and I look forward to seeing what LMTO do next.
Review by Kara Taylor Alberts (@karaalberts)
Photo: Nick Rutter