Sunday, December 3

Thespie presents: Unlimited – The Songs Of Stephen Schwartz

It’s a sad fact that theatre is suffering greatly during these strange days so it is always welcoming when companies like Thespie can produce live performance streaming of such calibre.

Stephen Schwartz is probably one of the most underrated of musical theatre talents and certainly (in my opinion) up there with the Lloyd Webbers and Sondheim’s of this world.

From the sublime “Pippin” to the dazzling “Wicked” his music and lyrics positively shine through and it’s to Thespie’s credit that they have produced a superlative showcase of his songs featuring nine excellent West End performers – Nikki Bentley, Sophie Evans, Alice Fearn, Alexia Khadime, Melanie La Barrie, Carl Man, Dianne Pilkington, Liam Tamne and Oliver Tompsett.

The concert starts with the wonderful “Magic To Do” from “Pippin”, a great opener that includes most of the cast. The show also features a superb rendition of “A World Without You” from the lesser known “Children of Eden” and a couple of songs from “Godspell” thrown into the mix including “Turn Back, O Man” with the superb Melanie La Barrie giving a gutsy and solid performance.

The concert just moves effortlessly through a well curated song catalogue including music from Disney’s “Pocahontas” – “If I never knew you”, “The Baker’s Wife” – “Meadowlark” and Schwartz’s latest musical “The Prince of Egypt” –  “Footprints in the Sand” featuring the excellent vocals of Liam Tamne. The concert finishes with the beautifully emotive song “For Good” from “Wicked”.

At short intervals between songs, the cast talk about their experience in theatre and their love of musical theatre in particular – this gives an extra texture to the concert which was unusual but really quite clever and different.

The performers are accompanied with great aplomb on the piano by the musical director Nick Barstow. The setting is plain and minimal (located in the Kimpton Fitzroy Hotel) but there is no denying the sheer joy and energy from the entire cast and it really does show. A feel good concert if ever there was one, it’s just a shame that it has a short running time, you just want to keep asking for more!

I would definitely recommend this for any fans of musical theatre, I don’t think you’d be disappointed.

Reviewer: Kiefer Williams

Reviewed: 15th January 2021

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★★