Velma Celli


Rating ****

Reviewed by Michaela Clement Hayes


So it’s a Friday night in London. Always on the look out for something different, I headed to the Hippodrome Casino to see the show everyone was talking about – Velma Celli, ‘the only all live singing, all dancing extravaganza in London’.

Cabaret is always fun because it’s quite laid-back and you get table service (a huge advantage), but I was unprepared for the fantastic show that I saw that night.

The evening was a collection of songs from well-known musicals (so obviously I was in my element), with backing dancers providing an additional theatrical element. I particularly enjoyed the burlesque performance, which added extra sultriness to the whole evening.

However, the star of the night was definitely Velma Celli (Ian Stroughair) herself. Velma was born shortly after Ian understudied Chicago’s Mary Sunshine at the Cambridge Theatre. He enjoyed the character so much that he created Velma (named after Velma Kelly, the star of Chicago), a beautiful redhead with legs to die for.

Songs included: Big Spender, Maybe This Time, Roxie (Velma) and (of course) a few from Rent and A Chorus Line. Here Velma was joined by the fabulous Nikki Davis Jones and their voices (not to mention personalities) nicely complimented each other.

Velma is an intelligent performer, knowing her vocal limits (e.g. not attempting the highest notes in Defying Gravity) and not taking herself too seriously when she performs. She also has wonderful taste in shoes, which were stars in their own right!

All in all it was a great night – relaxed and fun, with an audience who loved every minute of the show. If you get the chance to go and see it, do!

Velma Celli played the Matcham Room at London’s Hippodrome Casino on Friday 17th May 2013. For more information on future performances visit