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Review: Kerry Ellis: 20th Anniversary Tour, Apex, Bury St Edmunds, May 7

PUBLISHED: 17:33 10 May 2018 | UPDATED: 17:33 10 May 2018

Kerry Ellis performing at theUnion Chapel in London on the first night of her 20th Anniversary Tour. Photo: Fane Productions

Kerry Ellis performing at theUnion Chapel in London on the first night of her 20th Anniversary Tour. Photo: Fane Productions

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Most tours tagged with a 20th anniversary label are showcases for sentimental trips down memory lane. Usually both performer and audience luxuriate in the hits from yesteryear but, what made Kerry Ellis’ 20th anniversary performance so refreshing was that, for the most part, her show was all about new music. The first half was filled with songs from her latest album Golden Days, which is a collaboration with Queen guitarist Brian May, and was a clear indication that Kerry is a performer who is looking forward rather than back.

Kerry Ellis performing at theUnion Chapel in London on the first night of her 20th Anniversary Tour. Photo: Fane Productions Kerry Ellis performing at theUnion Chapel in London on the first night of her 20th Anniversary Tour. Photo: Fane Productions

Between numbers she informs the audience that she is juggling concert dates with playing Gwendolen in a UK tour of The Importance of Being Earnest, clearly Kerry remains a busy woman.

The show opens with barn-storming rocker Roll With You and is quickly followed with a clutch of other uptempo numbers including the Brian May song Panic Attack and a rocked up version of the Shirley Bassey anthem I Who Have Nothing, which Brian and Kerry performed at the San Remo festival in Italy.

In between songs, Kerry shares anecdotes from her career and relates how nervous she was when she did her first concert and found it daunting to find her voice: “As an actress, you have lines to say as a character. I wasn’t used to talking as me ... but, now, you can’t shut me up,” she laughed.

But, it wasn’t all about fast-paced rockers; a beautiful version of Amazing Grace, dedicated to the memory of her grandfather, and a gorgeous cover of Elvis Presley’s Can’t Help Falling In Love had the audience singing along.

Kerry Ellis performing at theUnion Chapel in London on the first night of her 20th Anniversary Tour. Photo: Fane Productions Kerry Ellis performing at theUnion Chapel in London on the first night of her 20th Anniversary Tour. Photo: Fane Productions

In fact, there was quite a bit of audience participation with everyone joining in with Queen’s Somebody To Love and a front-row audience member called Melanie being invited by Kerry to duet on the Wicked song For Good.

My favourite songs of the evening, however, had to be a stunning Parisienne Walkways which closed the first half and a soaring, emotional version of No-one But You, from Kerry’s first big hit show We Will Rock You.

The band were stunning and Kerry was aided by the massed voices of the London Show Choir for the song One Voice and for a spectacular arrangement of Ed Sheeran’s Give Me Love. The show ended with a rousing version of Defying Gravity which brought whoops from the capacity audience.

It was a terrific evening, which, not only showcased Kerry’s voice and engaging personality, but it dramatically demonstrated the range of her musical tastes. We are very lucky she never forgets her Suffolk roots.

After running the gamut of every possible emotion, the audience for Grow Up Grandad, will undoubtedly go home savouring their own individual and personal experience of the story. Performed by the highly skilled Gallery Players at the Sir John Mills Theatre, this delightful small cast play by Gordon Steel was premiered in the North East in 2015.

Jason Manford is bringing his latest live show Muddle Class back to the region next year.

The role of grandparents in our society is changing. Arts editor Andrew Clarke talks to Gallery Players director Steve Wolldridge about a new play which examines intergenerational relationships

Her sharp, wise crack humour had her audience in stitches with her one-woman show.

Colchester Mercury artistic director Daniel Buckroyd, the man who has championed Mercury Rising, the theatre’s £8.7 million renovation project, will be leaving in August to take over the running of the Exeter Northcott Theatre.

As a fan of radio comedy - The Now Show, The News Quiz, Round the Horne etc - I am sorry to say Radio Active passed me by when it was first broadcast in the 1980s (ahem...too young, obviously) so it was great catch the new tour at the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds.

This is the third instalment in Jo Carrick’s engaging Tudor trilogy and the middle episode of the saga. The strength of Jo’s writing is that she can frame history-changing national events and anchor them in a local setting. She shows how Suffolk people lived through and dealt with changing times.

Everyone knows Danny Baker. Whether it’s for his radio career, infamous washing powder adverts, football programmes in the 1990s or his recent appearance on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.

Most tours tagged with a 20th anniversary label are showcases for sentimental trips down memory lane. Usually both performer and audience luxuriate in the hits from yesteryear but, what made Kerry Ellis’ 20th anniversary performance so refreshing was that, for the most part, her show was all about new music. The first half was filled with songs from her latest album Golden Days, which is a collaboration with Queen guitarist Brian May, and was a clear indication that Kerry is a performer who is looking forward rather than back.

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