The Other Palace Studio, London – until 23 December 2017
The Barricade Boys bring together some of the finest Les Miserables alumni (Scott Garnham, Craig Mather, Kieran Brown, Simon Schofield) and finest male voices to create truly beautiful sounds and performances. The boys have toured extensively and appeared on a number of television programmes but this time they’re back for a three week-residency of Christmas delights at The Other Palace.
I’ve really been getting into the Christmas spirit recently with a number of festive shows and this was certainly one of the best. Entering the studio of The Other Palace we are greeted with a beautifully adorned Christmas tree and a cosy log fire projected onto the wall which sets the mood for the relaxed, warm evening to come. The boys normally perform with a seven-piece band but this time opt for a “stripped back” performance with just them and the piano (played fantastically by Noam Galperin) which further adds to the intimate feeling of the night.
The set of 23 songs was varied and extremely well put together with a mixture of festive favourites, Les Mis hits and some more unexpected songs. Standout moments included I’ll Be Home For Christmas/Bring Him Home and Man In The Mirror which both featured tight harmonies and wonderful interaction between the boys. Their rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody must get a special mention as it was done so well; with suitable emotion and humour to keep it entertaining and amusing, whilst maintaining the integrity and showing off everyone’s unique voices.
When speaking about the goals of the group, Scott explained that they take the work very seriously but not themselves and this is exactly right. The music was faultless but made all the better by the brilliant on stage interactions where the boys bounced off one another and seemed to genuinely be having fun.
Each night a special West End star will join the boys on stage, this particular night we had the pleasure of seeing the supremely talented Michael Xavier. He performed a haunting, melancholy version of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas before the boys joined him for a side-splitting, Les Mis version of the Twelve Days of Christmas. Michael was a lovely addition to the programme and the number of amazing guests set to appear, certainly makes me want to go back to another concert in the run.
This pitch-perfect ensemble with stand out solo moments and smooth, natural, humourous on stage rapport is all you could ask for at Christmas time. For a festive, lighthearted evening of top notch entertainment, you can’t go wrong with The Barricade Boys and I would high recommend paying them a visit during their run!