West End Glee Club

The Sears Basset Glee Club is looking for a soloist for its London debut, and we - the audience - get to vote on who it will be. In this GM-hybrid of Glee, musical theatre revue and How do you Solve a Problem like Maria, four up-and-coming musical theatre stars pretend to be four more up-and-coming musical theatre stars vying for the love of the audience through solo numbers from the full gamut of musical theatre canon.Drawing from Rent, The Phantom of the Opera, Les Mis and more, the music is the focus in this show - and the four student performers really get to show off their abundant vocal talent. Elise Roberts is a divatastic explosion as Ms Hands the group’s teacher and Graham Norton-style game show presenter, really bringing the house down with her sultry Don’t Tell Mama. An operatic and intelligent rendition of Defying Gravity from Wicked wins the audience for Lisa Lynch; while the more understated Jonny Purchase brings flawless technique and consistent characterisation to Phillip, a character so underdeveloped he could only be played with irony - which Phillip does well. This windfall of talent was let down by samey arrangements and half-hearted choreography in the solo numbers, but as the show got into its stride so did its direction and everyone was smiling on their way out. Fans of Glee will recognise the characters of the four contestants as well as most of the songs they sing. You won’t recognise much else though, as the focus is very much on the soloistic West End side of things rather than on the plot, funny characters and group singing of pop hits we associate with Glee. Sophie, 10, told me she was disappointed that Claire didn’t win, but loved the show especially the group song at the end which was a medley of Summertime from Porgy and Bess and Seasons of Love from Rent. Indeed, she is right: the show was at it’s strongest when all four students were singing together. My personal highlight was the mashup of love duets in which the two couples fought for the spotlight - more of this please!

Reviews by James T. Harding

Pleasance Courtyard

Creatives

★★
Bedlam Theatre

The Duck Pond

★★★★★

The Blurb

Glee club finals are imminent and we need to add a solo, but which talented performer gets the honour of singing it? You the audience decide! Packed full of songs from your favourite musicals. www.CliMarproductions.com