Refresh (Concert), Spiegeltent | Review

Wednesday 14 August 2019

Refresh (Concert)
Reviewed on Tuesday 13th July 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 

Refresh is a fantastically exciting cabaret series created by Ryan Carter. The idea is that a cast of talented, fresh west end performers, bring a set list to life that features re-worked versions of many well know musical songs.The concerts are designed to celebrate musical theatre and entertain fans of the genre, but also to provide a gateway experience for those less knowledgable or invested in it. After a selection of concerts, Refresh is taking a short residency at the Underbelly festival to captivate audiences in the intimate Spiegeltent setting.

The set features an eclectic and wholly enjoyable series of songs. From the beautifully haunting Kiss The Air by Scott Alan, to the Hamilton classic You'll Be Back, there's certainly something for everyone. The joy of Refresh is that even if a song is not your favourite originally, the inventive re-imaginings will have you seeing and hearing it in a new way. Highlights of Jo Noel-Hartley and Ryan Carter's arranging, include It Won't Be Long Now, My Favourite Things and the thrilling Rewind mash-up of the history of musical theatre.

The cast is made up of vocal powerhouses: Sam Carlyle, Kayla Carter, LinnĂ©a Didrick, Ben Farrall, Adam Gillian, Abbi Hodgson, Charlotte Miranda Smith, Baker Mukasa and William Lloyd. Each performer brings something beautiful to the stage and even more magic is created when the team come together for their group pieces. The rapport between the cast is highly entertaining and it's clear that everyone's hearts are really into making Refresh as sleek and absorbing as it is. Stand out performances include the quartet rendition of Kiss The Air, Abbi Hodgson's There Once Was a Man, and the rousing opening Do You Hear The People Sing? The musicality and versatility of each performer is evident and it's fantastic to hear vocalists in a raw but professional and high quality performance. 

Mention must go to the brilliant lighting design which continually adds to the varying moods of the songs, as well as providing visual treats on its own, and making the experience more visceral. Ryan Carter's design of the graphics and videos which accompany must equally be applauded as they are lively, vibrant and entertaining, and also embody the ethos of Refresh as a whole.

For a night of musical theatre that is different to what you'd expect, pay a visit to see the Refresh gang. Not only are the performers fantastic, but the whole philosophy of the group is something which should be applauded and championed. It should also be noted that following Papa Can You Hear Me? my mum whispered "Babs would be proud" which is high praise indeed and a definite reason to experience these outstanding revitalised performances.


  1. I would like to watch their current and previous performances so I easily could evaluate the level of their training level.