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MOMENTOUS MUSICALS – New Wimbledon Theatre, London.

momentous musicalsThe overwhelming heat inside the New Wimbledon Theatre from the sunny Wednesday evening outside couldn’t wilt the excitement and anticipation of the crowd waiting anxiously for the curtain to raise on Momentous Musicals.

The curtain rises and we are greeted with an onstage band and a very impressive rendition of “One Night Only” sung by Rachael Wooding. Following on we are treated to a wide spectrum of numbers from a huge variety of shows, from Pippin and Wicked, through to a Disney Medley and even a number from the NBC hit TV series Smash. By the time the interval arrives, the entire audience are bopping along in their seats and don’t want it to stop.

The second act contains even more variety, including numbers written by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Jonathan Larson and Stephen Sondheim, amongst others.

The ensemble, Cellen Chugg Jones, Bronté Barbé, Maggie Lynne and Richard Lowe, are very strong in both their capacity as backing vocalists and soloists.

The child ensemble, featuring Louise Duncan, Sean McCrystal, Caspar Meurisse and Ashleigh Read, are charming and beautifully open the second act with “When I Grow Up” from Matilda.

Gareth Gates performs some well loved numbers including “Positive” from Legally Blonde and “Unchained Melody” from Ghost, as well as duet “River in the Rain” from Big River with John Owen-Jones.  Gates also treats us to West Side Story‘s “Somewhere” with Bronté Barbé displaying beautiful tone and communication.

Rachael Wooding shows real, particularly in her opening number “One Night Only”.  She’s also a fantastic Elle Woods in “So Much Better” and holds her own “Take Me or Leave Me” from Rent with Ashleigh Gray.

John Owen-Jones’ performances are astounding – his communication with the audience and his humble attitude only make his spectacular performances that much more engaging. “Til I Hear You Sing” from Love Never Dies is stunning and his mash-up of “Suddenly” and “Bring Him Home” brings tears to a vast proportion of the audience with its truth and beauty.

Ashleigh Gray is, at least for myself, the stand out performer of the night. She takes to the stage with her interpretation of “The Wizard and I” and performs it with such class. Her voice is truly outstanding, and seems truly effortless. Her duets with Rachael Wooding,Smash’s “Let Me Be Your Star” and Larson’s previously mentioned “Take Me or Leave Me”, are both performed with sophistication and genuine, exceptional talent. In the second act her rendition of “Don’t Rain On My Parade” is performed with such positivity and determination that she has the whole audience smiling along.

The band are led by the extraordinarily talented George Dyer. Positivity and enthusiasm is evident just from observing him leading the very high quality of seven musicians playing nine different instruments amongst them. The orchestrations and arrangements are strong with truly vibrant and new vocal harmonies.

Momentous Musicals is a genuinely enjoyable night out. You won’t leave without having laughed, cried and danced (or at least tapped your feet) along with the music delivered by this small but select group of talented performers.

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Reviewed 17/07/13

By Rosie Ladkin
@rosieladkin

17th July 2013
New Wimbledon Theatre, London, SW19.

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On tour until 25th July 2013

19th July – Princess Theatre Torquay 7.30pm
22nd July – Bradford Alhambra Theatre 7.30pm
25th July – Palace Theatre Manchester 7.30pm

For more info and tickets see here

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