Opening with an exciting musical song, I presumed that David Bedella would take us on a journey through his award-winning résumé. A little Frank-N-Furter here, a Max Martin song from &Juliet over there. I was surprised. Instead, we were served an array of music genres, all with the velvety vocals that Bedella delivers.
The cabaret had the air of a sophisticated dinner party, with the guests being treated to a song or two from the host. We were given the story behind the choices; from an aspiring country career to his mother’s favourite song. Sitting on a barstool, delivering titbits directly to camera, the performance felt relaxing and intimate. It’s clear that Bedella is a very natural storyteller; through the conversation and the songs themselves.
The rapport between performer and pianist also added to the flair of the show. Steve Clark assisted with anecdotes of pantomime days and album collaborations, to casually move from song to song. Another great input of his was to add some more excitement to the show with sounds of a band. They unfortunately couldn’t appear live but lifted the dynamics through the magic of his iPad.
There were two tributes made on the night. Firstly, Bedella gave a stunning performance of Life on Mars, dedicated to Bowie on the anniversary of his death. And secondly, a tribute to the renowned theatre composer, Jerry Herman. The style, charm and acting through this piece was inducing of sentimentality and real class.
Bedella’s rich voice travels from soothing low tones to impressive high notes with ease. He may joke about his “Imelda Staunton-like stature”, but this doesn’t have any effect on his commanding presence onstage.
A highlight of mine was the discussion of Rishi Sunak’s campaign to “retrain”. Bedella wittily used this as a reason to sing “There’s Gotta Be Something Better Than This” from Sweet Charity. Well, I think we all know that the outcome of that performance was in favour of the theatre.
With the cabaret being so enjoyable, I was shocked to hear that this was his first solo concert since 2006. It was slick, stylish and well put together. Before watching this, I had only heard Bedella sing in musicals. Now, I would happily buy his albums and listen to him perform more genres. Wine glass in hand, Bedella’s voice would be the perfect accompaniment to a lock-down dinner party for one.
Reviewer: Coral Mourant
Reviewed: 8th January 2021
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★