Standing ovation for Les Mis singers

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Lovers of musicals had an early Christmas present at the Congress Theatre when the Beyond the Barricade Company presented a delightful mix of numbers from the best musicals of the past five decades.

The company consists of two female vocalists, Rebecca Vere, Katie Leeming, and two male singers, David Fawcett and Andy Reiss. All have appeared in longest-running musical Les Miserables, Rebecca as Cosette, Kate as Eponine, David as Jean Valjean for two years and Andy as both Musical Director and bit part player. They are backed by a four piece band.

The first half was a medley of numbers from some of the best musicals ever written - Miss Saigon, Phantom Of The Opera, West Side Story, Carousel, Jesus Christ Superstar - and a juke box musical item, featuring Queen’s ‘Radio Gaga’ from We Will Rock You, ‘Who Loves You, Pretty Baby’ from Jersey Boys and ‘Does Your Mother Know?’ from Mama Mia. Interspersed with these musical items were a number of introductions by both David and Andy, with the former treating the audience to amusing jokes.

There were some lesser known numbers in the Christmas portion of the second half but this did not detract from the quality of the singing. Among the highlights were ‘A Spaceman Came Travelling’ written by Chris de Burgh, Brenda Lee’s ‘Rocking Around the Christmas Tree’, The Pogues’ ‘Fairy Tale of New York’ and the hymn ‘Oh, Holy Night’.

Then came the moment everyone in the audience was waiting for, the tribute to Les Miserables on which the concept of the show was originally founded 16 years ago. The quartet began with ‘At The End Of The Day’ followed by Rebecca’s rendition of ‘I Dreamed A Dream. Andy gave us a powerful version of Javaert’s ‘Stars’ followed by Andy and Rebecca as the Thanardiers in ‘Master Of The House’. David sang the beautiful ‘Bring Him Home’ and all four got together for what was intended to be the finale, The Epilogue in Jean Valjean’s dying scene, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the House. The audience erupted in tumultuous applause and was not disappointed.

They returned to the stage for ‘One Day More’. In the show it is sung by eight principals and an ensemble of 25, with 40-piece orchestra. But size is not important when you have such talented performers, and they received a well deserved standing ovation which went on and on. Harry Lederman.