Review: Kerry Ellis, The Apex, Bury St Edmunds, October 16
- Credit: Archant
Kerry Ellis, The Apex, Bury St Edmunds, October 16
Suffolk-born West End star Kerry Ellis, currently reprising her role in Wicked, has taken time to escape from The Land of Oz to bring her solo show back home.
A sell-out crowd were treated to a warm, intimate show, arranged by her long-time collaborator Craig Adams, which took us through the highlights of her career so far, tracks from her new album and allowed her to cover some of her favourite songs by other artists.
The evening started in true blockbuster fashion with a dazzling James Bond medley which included extracts from Diamonds Are Forever, Skyfall, Goldfinger and Live and Let Die.
This was followed with a brace of numbers from Lerner and Lowe’s My Fair Lady (I Could Have Danced All Night and On the Street Where You Live) the show which provided her West End debut 14 years ago. She went on as Martine McCutcheon’s understudy both at The National Theatre and at Drury Lane.
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Kerry then moved into a section from Oliver which, she explained, also had special memories. It, not only, marked a return to Drury Lane but she played Nancy opposite another Suffolk star Griff Rhys Jones and was surrounded by dozens of lively child actors who, it seems, could be rather unpredictable on stage. She beautifully spliced As Long As He Needs Me together with Who Will Buy?
The biggest surprise of the evening was an extraordinary uptempo version of Stephen Sondheim’s Losing My Mind from Follies. This is usually a quiet reflective number but arranger Craig Adams had transformed it into a brilliant dance number which cleverly showed off another side of the song.
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The great thing about seeing a performer like Kerry Ellis at a small venue like The Apex is that you really feel you can get up close and personal and really appreciate the power and richness of her voice.
The first half closed with an astonishing version of Take That Look Off Your Face from Tell Me On A Sunday which really did make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.
The second half was less about musicals and more about songs she loves by other artists including Adele, Katy Perry and that other Suffolk star Ed Sheeran.
Her version of Sheeran’s Give Me Love brought local choir Discord on stage, with choirmaster Michael Dann, to perform backing vocals for a powerhouse version of Let It Go from Disney’s Frozen which brought the audience to its feet.
It was a show designed to show off Kerry’s versatility and it certainty did that. My only gripe was that it all over far too quickly.