Yes tunes from Les Miserables is their specialty, and so it should be. With David Fawcett playing Jean Valjean in various UK productions, Andy Reiss having played various roles in the UK productions and associate director for the UK tour and Poppy Tierney having played Cosette, among various other famous roles in the UK including Mary Poppins. The trio sing tunes from some of the classic musicals of all time. Delving back to the 1945 classic Carousel right to the current must see Broadway hit, Hamilton.
At our show the second female singer, Katie Leeming had to fly back to the UK because of illness which left Tierney to fill both roles. It was easy to pick the tunes Leeming was supposed to sing. Tierney was left to sing them and she lacked stage presence. Her renditions of I Don’t Know how to Love Him from Jesus Christ Superstar and the Chicago medley showed some of the presence of which she is capable.
With Leeming missing I’m not quite sure why the set included the fourth microphone up on stage to be lit up during the performance. The lighting was disappointing with spots frequently lighting up microphones absent of singers, only to be quickly switched to the correct mic.
If your going to stand on stage and sing songs from musicals one of three things has to happen. You need to sing the number as good as the original, better than the original or sing a completely new arrangement. None of which they succeeded in doing. It felt like you were at a karaoke bar.
The production required choreography and a phantom mask, feather boa and a waving French flag during the finale could have added colour and theatrics to the production. It really didn’t mean anything as the cast stepped into and out of the four spotlights front of stage.
The Disney Lion King medley opened the second act with the drummer frustratingly a beat ahead of the rest of the band. Fawcett and Reiss shone in the vaudeville clown numbers All for the Best from Godspell and Always Look on the Bright Side of Life from Spamalot. It was during these numbers the audience became a part of the show singing and clapping along.
With one cast member missing Paul Peacock, a local Perth singer from the Les Miserable family, joined them on stage to sing Corner of the Sky from Pippin and the finale One Day More. Apparently Peacock was called at the last minute which unfortunately showed. His constant coughing before singing indicated he may have been suffering from a cold which appeared to be evident in his performances.
At one point Fawcett jokes this production has been touring for 19 years and sadly it is looking that old. Beyond the Barricade is advertised as a professional production. Unfortunately, I found it to be anything but.
Beyond the Barricade
Perth Concert Hall, 5 St Georges Terrace, Perth
Performance: Saturday 2 June 2018 – 8.00pm
Beyond the Barricade will be touring across Australia through to 10 July 2018. For more information and performance schedule, visit: www.beyondthebarricade.com.au for details.
Image: David Fawcett and Andy Reiss feature in Beyond The Barricade (supplied)
Review: Craig Dalglish