REVIEW: Seth Rudetsky’s Broadway with John Barrowman (Leicester Square Theatre) ★★★★
On stage before us we see a grand piano, a mic stand and two chairs – the perfect setting for an evening of mixed entertainment from the household name that is John Barrowman and the devilishly talented Seth Rudetsky.
The show starts with a bang, and it takes little more than a minute for Barrowman’s comedic playfulness to be injected into the atmosphere, perching on a lady’s leg and serenading the room. He arrives onstage and admits to being terribly nervous, yet making excellent eye contact and gesturing to his audience with gratefulness and anxious excitement. Throughout the show, he delves into the oldest corridors of his life, discussing his childhood in Scotland and then Illinois, U.S., breaking into musical theatre, his ‘coming out’ and the many wondrous people he has worked with over the years. His anecdotes were genuinely moving at times, and his willingness to bear some of these very personal, raw experiences only endeared him to me more. In between speaking with Rudetsky, the pair sent us down memory lane with a gorgeously selected variety of songs, some from John’s past musical roles, others that are firm favourites from his life.
Rudetsky is a superb host; he is delightfully non-imposing in the sense that his presence allows the interviewee (our John) to be fully in the spotlight, but still holds such relevance onstage. His questions feel largely spontaneous, fluid and nuanced to whatever subject is being discussed at the time. The conversation between songs felt natural and easy, clearly taken between two people that clearly have a great offstage rapport, and allowed we as the audience to sit back and observe with ease.
Barrowman is a delight to spend the evening listening to and watching, with his insatiable energy and infectious stage presence evident in both his dancing and singing (what a fabulous voice!). Rudetsky’s as host and pianist was a brilliant complement to our leading man, instilling a sense of calm in John throughout and leading the show from start to finish. Wonderfully gratifying, this was a night that warmed many a heart in the Leicester Square Theatre.
Reviewed by Laura Evans