Tuesday, May 28

Bigger Than Broadway – Bombed Out Church, Liverpool

Premiering as part of the Little Theatre Festival (LTF), Bigger Than Broadway promises song and dance from the most popular musicals. Performing numbers from Les Misérables, West Side Story, Wicked, Phantom Of The Opera, We Will Rock You, The Greatest Showman and many more, it will appeal to anyone who is a fan of musicals. The content is suitable for ages 10+.

Set within the ambience of St Luke’s Bombed Out Church and shared as one of the twelve new works for LTF, Bigger Than Broadway opens with a harmonising score and brief intros to each of the company. Rebecca Casey, Andrew Geater, Jake Holroyd and Michelle Terri then take the audience through a series of some of the most well-known songs from musical theatre.

A performance of contrasts, there were high notes and low notes. Some songs don’t land as well as they should and the timing in some of the dance routines was out on occasion. It appeared to be falling flat with the audience early on.

A contributor to this is the reliance on singing over singing and acting while holding a rapport with the audience. Musical theatre performs songs with the audience already connected to the context and with acting prioritised as much as singing. Bigger Than Broadway felt out of balance in this aspect.

However, it is possible – or very likely – that nerves were disrupting the delivery of what this production is truly capable of. There are flashes of the show’s potential. The stronger sections were the West Side Story set and the selection from Phantom of the Opera, during which Rebecca Casey and Andrew Geater remained in character for a thrilling rendition of the title song. It carried all the tension and drama you’d expect and more.

There is a significant change in performance for the duets and all company songs. If the whole show had been of the standard that ‘One Day More’ was at the close, this would have been a very different audience experience – the close was connected, cohesive and confident. In moments like this, you could easily believe you’re watching the original West End Show and feel the transportation to another place that good theatre gives.

Overall, the production has the potential to provide a hearty night out for musical theatre lovers but would fare better with some audience interaction or a designated, on-stage compere.

Reviewer: Ezzy LaBelle

Reviewed: 8th May 2022

North West End UK Rating: ★★★