Touring – reviewed at Malvern Theatres
As a regular theatregoer it’s somewhat remiss of me to not have experienced the legendary Elaine Paige, live, before now. However, I can highly recommend the experience, because let me assure you, this First Lady of Musical Theatre is still a force to be reckoned with!
Accompanied by the John G Smith Band, who were a joy to behold in themselves, Paige took her audience through many of her personal favourite hits, penned by the likes of Harry Nilsson, The Beatles and Jim Webb to name a few. Resplendent in a stunning knee-length gown and matching shoes that I admit to coveting, we were treated to the raw talent that this extraordinary performer still possesses.
There was a haunting rendition of Yesterday, in the mix, as well as a gentle take on One Fine Day by Carole King which was quite a highlight for me. It demonstrated the ability that Paige still uses so spectacularly. All Of My Life from Tootsie moved me to tears, because it seemed to be one of many numbers that Paige connected so harmoniously with. One of my all time favourite songs is Macarthur Park and I truly felt that all other performances of the track paled into insignificance when this was belted out so beautifully.
Elaine’s previous tour was entitled her ‘Farewell Tour’, therefore I was unsure whether to expect the old favourites in this set. I couldn’t hide my glee when I Know Him So Well, Memory and With One Look were included. In fact, her Grizabella days may be behind her, but Paige could still pull off a fierce Norma Desmond if the occasion called for it.
The combination of music and chat with the audience struck the right balance, I could feel the emotion behind every song that Paige had selected and she shared some lovely memories which added more impetus to the choices. It’s fantastic to see that the West End and Broadway phenomena has still has ‘it’. There are plenty of dates on the tour schedule and if you can get your hands on a ticket, you won’t regret it. You don’t have to be a musical theatre fan to get the most out of this incredible concert.