Tuesday, November 29

The Barricade Boys – Opera House, Manchester

Believe it or not it’s the Barricade Boys 7th Anniversary tour of ‘Bring him Home’, originally the brainchild of Scott Garnham and Simon Schofield who wanted to create an audience experience that was much more than just songs from the shows. Having first performed at the Charing Cross Theatre in 2015, the group have successfully progressed providing entertainment on cruise ships, various well known UK television shows, Broadway and numerous other venues.

The 2022 cast consists of the original founders Scott Graham and Simon Schofield joined by Craig Mather and Kieran Brown; all male vocals have a huge accolade of west end successes. Liam Steel choreographed the tour bring it nicely in line with the Les Miserable theme as it was Liam who was the choreographer for the Les Misérables movie produced in 2012.

The show is clearly a crowd pleaser as the audience was packed with keen enthusiasts ready to get in the mood and have a sing-along and a good old boogie, but don’t be misled by the title as the show provides much more than just songs from Les Misérables.

The first half of the show you are introduce to the boys and their achievements in musical theatre, impressively Craig is the longest running Marius in the West End having performed the role around a thousand times, whilst Kieran Brown the powerhouse of the quad performed in Les Misérables originally in 2003 then in 2010 for the 25th Anniversary Concert, however, is recently known for his role as the phantom in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of The Opera.

The boys shone as they showcased a medley of songs from ‘Jersey boys’, ‘Motown’, Elton John, ‘Abba’, ‘West Side Story’ and The Beetles. Whilst performing as a group for most of the evening they also sang solo’s according to their vocal strengths, a particular highlight was Kieran’s ‘The Music of The Night’ from Phantom where his vocals were impeccable displaying his unquestionable talent and Craig Mather’s rendition of ‘Empty Chairs at Empty Tables’ where he clearly exhibited his undisputed aptitude as the perfect choice to be Marius for his longstanding performances.

It is clear the group enjoy what they are doing and have undoubtably mastered the art of engaging with their audience also there is no denying the talent and tenacity that The Barricade Boys bring to the stage. As a group they have excellent harmonies, they look good and own the stage during every ballad whilst they perform their dance sequences as perfect chain linked together, which is what I think is their key to success and will continue their triumph for many more years.

One of the unique things in the show is their changed-up style they put on many iconic numbers that they performed, such as a creative swing big band version of ‘Master of The House’ and their phenomenal live version of Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody where they stunned the audience with their vocal range and talent which lead to a well-deserved standing ovation.

The group welcomed the performers of the future from Didsbury’s Stagecoach performing arts group, who beautifully accompanied the boys for two songs in both halves of the show, clearly accompanied by their parents and families in the audience who beamed with pride and delight as their children experienced what it was like to be on a stage and perform in a large prestigious theatre.

The show is accompanied by a seven-piece live band throughout the evening enhancing the whole experience of ‘The Bring Him Home’ tour, the staging mainly consists of four spotlights and red velvet curtain backdrops providing a simplistic but effective space for the performers.

Overall, the show was pleasant and does have the feel-good factor that we all crave in these crazy times of 2022, and it is a tonic that makes you smile, and toe tap throughout.

Well done to all involved and I wish the quad every success in their forthcoming tour, the show moves to Bradford then Sheffield for the month of May. https://barricadeboys.com/

Reviewer: Katie Leicester

Reviewed: 15th May 2022

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★