Tuesday, April 23

Tonight at the Coliseum: Kerry Ellis

As most theatre lovers will know, Take Two Theatricals in conjunction with Carter Dixon Productions and stream.theatre began streaming a series of one-off concerts on 18th September, and this week was the turn of Kerry Ellis. Best known in theatreland from her time as Elphaba in Wicked and Meat in We Will Rock You, Ellis is also an extremely successful recording artist, and she finished recording her sixth album, Feels Like Home, just before lockdown.

Produced by Nikki & Joe Davison at Auburn Jam Music, Ellis had intended to sell the album as exclusive merchandise at her 2020 live gigs, but when the coronavirus pandemic put an end to her touring plans, she decided to sell the album online. Tonight, with a backdrop of the empty Coliseum as a haunting reminder of the current challenges facing British theatre, Ellis sang through the album in concert for the first time. Supported by a live band (Joe Davison, Tom Webber, Rachel Espeute & Sophie Alloway), she shared this wonderful collection of some of her favourite songs from stage, screen and the world of pop.

Nobody who has listened to the album will be surprised at the high quality of this concert. The selection of songs she performed seemed designed to showcase her powerful vocals and the versatility in her voice. From the music of Queen to the Beatles, from Mary Poppins to Waitress and everything in between, Ellis sang with joy and heart, and for about an hour I forgot the state of the world. As she opened with the lyrics “My gift is my song, and this one’s for you” (Your Song, Moulin Rouge) I suspect I wasn’t the only one trying to hold back the tears through a smile.

Ellis never fails to entertain, and she certainly has a gift for storytelling, moving seamlessly from character to character, regardless of genre. As she herself sang, “Feels like I’m all the way back where I belong” (Feels Like Home), and I for one can’t wait to see her back on stage in the future… where she belongs.

As Ellis cheerfully reminded the audience, you can buy the album featured in this concert, Feels Like Home, from her website. For the full track listing and to buy the album, go to https://kerryellis.com/music-shop/  The final two concerts in the ‘Tonight at the London Coliseum’ series will see performances from Rob Fowler and Sharon Sexton (Friday 16th October) and Ramin Karimloo (Friday 23rd October). Tickets are available from https://www.stream.theatre/home

Reviewer: Jo Tillotson

Reviewed: 9th October 2020

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★