Something Wonderful, Royal Festival Hall | Review

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Something Wonderful
Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre
Reviewed on Thursday 15th September 2016 by Olivia Mitchell

Last night the Royal Festival Hall played host to a wonderful exploration and celebration of the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein in a fabulous one of concert featuring some of the West Ends best performers. Emma Kingston, Louise Dearman, Michael Xavier and Ryan O'Gorman fabulously performed songs from one of the best musical theatre partnerships of all time, treating us to some of their well known songs as well as some hidden gems.

Although I expected to know more songs I really enjoyed being introduced to the lesser known pieces. The show opened with a fantastic version of the always rousing Oh What A Beautiful Morning, performed by Michael Xavier who started the night on a superb note! The first half was mostly the lesser known pieces with a particular stand out being  Emma Kingston's beautiful rendition of It Might As Well Be Spring from State Fair as well as Ryan O'Gorman's epic opening performance which shamefully I didn't know the name of but it was stunning! There were also duets which added a nice flow to the concert, with a particularly sweet and romantic version of People Will Say We're in Love from Emma and Michael.

Both acts opened with a medley of pieces which the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra of course played wonderfully and really showcased the passion of Rodgers and Hammerstein's music. The second act featured the more well known tunes such as My Favourite Things which suited Louise Dearman so perfectly and had everyone smiling. Louise really showed off her versatility in this concert with some very contrasting pieces and a mix of vocal qualities. You can really tell why Ms Dearman has had the successful career she has. I particularly enjoyed her spirited performance of I'm in Love With a Wonderful Guy.

Michael Xavier was the ever dapper and charming man, performing each song to its fullest and really using the stage throughout whilst involving the audience. From a singers perspective I want to say that Michael truly gives me consonant envy, each word is so clear and he really is a technically skilled singer as well as a wonderful performer.

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Having seen Emma Kingston in both Les Miserables and In The Heights I knew she had singing skills but wow is this lady talented! Emma is the definition of clear, effortless singing; not only is her belting off the charts but her soprano voice is as crisp as anything. Each of her songs were astounding with her rendition of The Sound of Music being my number one moment of the night.

Ryan O'Gorman is another force to be reckoned with. His beautiful baritone voice had me captivated from  the get go as he effortlessly reached every note of the demanding pieces. Lonely Room from Oklahoma was a breathtaking performance which gave me chills, absolutely dazzling!

Overall this was a fabulous concert. I perhaps would have liked some more background information on each piece and a little more conversation with the audience but the performances were more than enough to stand on their own. The only proper negative I have is that there were not set lists or programmes of any sort provided and in the interval I found most people around me struggling to know what pieces were. However that's nothing to do with the performance and I thoroughly enjoyed the concert. Its made me want to delve further and further into the R&H vault! A truly great concert with truly great performers who definitely did create Something Wonderful!

*I received press tickets for this show but all views and opinions are my own*