As a thousand bright stars twinkle away on the Nottingham Playhouse back cloth, four, even brighter, female stars of the musical theatre stage, illuminate our lives, in concert, with their wonderous singing talents and humour. These are Rosalie Craig, Sandra Marvin, Jodie Prenger (performing from home) and special guest performer Sara Poyser. Amy Shakcloth is musical director and piano with the expressive Yvonne Marie Parsons on cello. What a night, here we all are, at the theatre, cosy at home on our sofas. Pass the popcorn but do it quietly.
After a warm welcome by Nottingham Playhouse artistic director, Adam Penford, we launch straight into the world of Stephen Sondheim. Sara Poyser starts us off with a banging gutsy rendition of Everything’s Comin’ Up Roses from Gypsy, followed by Rosalie Craig’s impassioned version of Tonight from West Side Story for which Sondheim was lyricist in his early career. Next up, Sandra Marvin gives us a sophisticated, soulful and tender Losing My Mind from A Little Night Music.
We go over to Jodie Prenger who reminds us of her days performing in Calamity Jane by singing the bitter sweet song Secret Love written by James O’Hanlon. As we discover later in the programme, Prenger is such a versatile artist.
The show continues with Sandra Marvin’s fabulous When You’re Good To Mamma from the very popular musical Chicago and Becky’s solo song from the musical Waitress – I Didn’t Plan It. Interspersed between numbers Marvin also sings the haunting Summertime from Porgy and Bess and I Will Always Love You from The Bodyguard.
Nottingham born talent Rosalie Craig thrills with a song called With Every Breath I Take from City of Angels, a production she was in when the theatres closed in March and With You from Ghost the musical. Later in the presentation she brings out the emotional big guns with Darkest Hour from Tori Amos’ The Light Princess and Back To Before from Ragtime.
In two separate sections we find ourselves once again in the superb company of Jodie Prenger where she sings Nancy’s rousing song Oom Pa Pa from Oliver and The Trolley Song from Meet Me In St Louis.
As we come towards the end of the concert Adam Penford returns to the stage to give thanks to the artistes and musicians and, across the world of Zoom that connects us all to the concert action, meaning those of us who are sat at home wildly applauding each number and desperately wishing they could hear us. At least it is not far from the bar/drinks cabinet and nobody minds if we chat amongst ourselves about the brilliant show.
Sara Poyser returns with a stunningly wowza version of Maybe This Time from Cabaret followed by Sandra Marvin with her heartfelt version I Know Where I’ve Been from that evergreen incredibly popular musical, Hairspray.
Just before Craig, Poyser and Marvin give us a concert rendition of You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman we are privileged to hear Rosalie Craig’s totally terrific Being Alive. Rosalie Craig was cast as the first female Bobbie in the hit show Company which we saw twice in the West End in 2019.
After this terrific concert featuring the best of West End female talent we can rest our hands, now sore from applauding, and certainly feel very much alive and enlivened. Thankyou Nottingham Playhouse for keeping the theatre alive.
Don’t forget, if you haven’t got your ticket for tonight’s final concert yet, head over to the website and book before 6.30pm: http://bit.ly/ConcertNP