The Clapham Grand is celebrating its 121st birthday this week – famed for having some of the greatest music hall performers of all time grace its stage, including Charlie Chaplin.
A celebration of Judy Garland‘s 1961 Concert at Carnegie Hall took place last weekend, paying homage to the historical show, with backing from the 25-piece jazz orchestra The London Gay Big Band.
Hosted by Tracie Bennett (who starred as Judy in the London and Broadway transfer of End Of The Rainbow) the show featured performances by Christina Bianco (soon to star in the UK Tour of The Rise and Fall of Little Voice), Adrian Hansel and Evie Rose Lane.
The entire show was phenomenal, featuring hit after hit. From the opening number “When You’re Smiling (The Whole World Smiles With You)”, to “You Go to My Head”, “Puttin’ On the Ritz”, “How Long Has This Been Going On?”, “The Man That Got Away”, “Come Rain or Come Shine”, “A Foggy Day”, “Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart”, “Stormy Weather”, “You Made Me Love You”, “The Trolley Song” and of course “Over the Rainbow”.
Musical Comedy Impressionist Christina Bianco, who could have so easily impersonated Judy Garland, brought real class to the evening, showing off her own wonderful voice. Evie Rose Lane gave a youthful charm with Tracie inviting her to sing the eleven o’clock number ‘Over The Rainbow’ because “as you get older the song takes on a different meaning” and Adrian Hansel bounced around the stage, visibly living his best life.
To this day, Tracie Bennett’s performance in End Of The Rainbow remains one of the greatest things I have ever seen on stage and to see her perform those songs again, with just as much emotion, was an honor. I think it might be time to bring the show back to London!
Reviewed by West End Wilma