Image courtesy of Edinburgh Playhouse
Beyond the Barricade
Beyond the Barricade is a musical theatre concert which has been playing for over a decade, indicating the production’s popularity and success. The audience are treated to songs from a wide variety of musicals, from Phantom of the Opera to Spamalot and, of course, Les Misérables.
Les Mis veterans usually perform the show; however, onstage last Tuesday were Andy Reiss, who also commendably acted as musical director and played the keyboard, David Fawcett and Katie Leeming. Unfortunately, Fawcett was recovering from the flu and the fourth member of the quartet was ill. A last-minute replacement had been made by calling upon local talent, Kim Shepherd. Somewhat commendably Shepherd’s performance gave no indication that she had only been rehearsing for a few hours – a testament to her skill.
The opening number of the concert, ‘The Heat is On in Saigon’ (Miss Saigon), did not quite deliver and threatened to set the tone for the rest of the evening. It was also clear that Fawcett’s voice was not quite on top form. However, after a shaky start the evening progressively got better.
Some particularly enjoyable numbers included ‘The Song That Goes Like This’ from Spamalot, which mocks the conventions of a musical theatre love song, performed by Fawcett and Shepherd. Leeming’s emotive rendition of ‘Don’t Cry for Me Argentina’ from Evita was also a triumph.
The standout solid performance of the evening, however, came from Reiss. His rendition of ‘Gethsemane’ from Jesus Christ Superstar successfully conveyed the character’s inner turmoil. Of course, the Les Mis finale was also impressive, especially Shepherd’s ‘I Dreamed a Dream’; and the four singers extraordinarily tackled the huge ensemble number ‘One Day More’ as their encore.
The band consisted of keyboard, drums and bass – a minimal ensemble, though the members all played excellently. Nevertheless, certain numbers undoubtedly would have benefited from a fuller orchestra.
Overall, despite some hiccups, which probably went unnoticed by the majority of the audience, Beyond the Barricade provided an enjoyable evening full of some of the best hits from the West End and Broadway.