You love musicals? If you want to hear your favourites from some of the West End and Broadways top shows then this is the must see for you. Now on the 19th year this touring company had the capacity audience spellbound this evening as they performed songs from some of the longest standing musicals and keeping their show current included this year's latest musical taking the West End by storm, 'Hamilton'.
David Fawcett and Andy Reiss met when they performed in Les Misérables together. The idea of a touring company was formed after they had been asked to perform for charity functions and after several years of this the decision was made and Beyond The Barricade took to the road in 1999. Two female singers were enlisted to join Fawcett and Reiss who over the years have changed and tonight the current line-up includes Poppy Tierney and Katie Leeming. All have musical backgrounds and the criteria is to have performed a principal role in Les Misérables.
The four singers are joined on stage by an amazing talented trio of musicians with Russ Kennedy on bass and tuba, Dave Williams drums and percussion and David Lane on keyboards. Reiss also provides additional keyboards. Whilst a full orchestra is fully appreciated as an accompaniment to the great musicals this small band more than compensate and give an incredible performance.
The simple set features a screen which depicts the musical the songs being performed are from, but judging by the audience little introduction is needed as the show launches into the first songs taken from Miss Saigon, including a fabulous rendition of 'Bui Doi'. Barely pausing for breath and on with Phantom of the Opera featuring a wonderful duet from Reiss and Tierney 'Say You Love Me'.
Other musicals covered include Jesus Christ Super Star, The Lion King, Blood Brothers, Chicago, Spamalot, Mamma Mia and last but definitely not least Les Misérables.
Fawcett doubles up as host for the evening adding anecdotes and jokes whilst Reiss multitasks as conductor, keyboards and of course performer. This show is all about the music and songs so don't expect to see the songs acted out other than a little role playing during 'Master of the House' (Les Mis) and a couple from Blood Brothers. Each performer has opportunity to showcase and all bring their own talents to Beyond The Barricade with some show stopping moments.
From the audience joining in with 'Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life (Spamalot) to being able to hear a pin drop during many songs, to shedding a tear during 'Bring Him Home' this show has it covered! I have tried to think which is my favourite song of the evening but simply cannot choose, all are performed with true feeling and emotion and I was not disappointed with any but if pushed the 'Les Misérables' selection are a fantastic way to end the show leaving you on a high and wanting more.
Reviewer: Lorna Weekes
Reviewed: 12th January 2018
North West End Rating: ★★★★★