West End and Broadway icons Michael Ball and Alfie Boe have come together for a tour de force performance of a selection of the songs that have brought them success over the years, as well as classics from other musicals and films. Backed by a formidable group of musicians and some very talented backing singers, the concert featured plenty of invention (theirs), tears (ours), humour, and grace.
Certainly, these two powerhouses have reputations that precede them. It would be easy for performers of Ball’s and Boe’s talent to coast on their names and jukebox the whole tour – playing the same set list every night, recalling the same quips and banter. Instead, along with fantastic musical arrangements and incredible voices, the main quality that reveals itself as the night progresses is authenticity.
In the middle of an upbeat I’ll Build a Stairway to Paradise, these two professional entertainers get the giggles, which along with the daggy but endearing choreography during other numbers reminds the audience that behind the awards and plaudits, these are also just a couple of blokes genuinely enjoying themselves. Among the larks were also moments of sentiment, with Alfie dedicating a plaintive Keep Me in Your Heart, and bittersweet Free Falling to the memory of Tom Petty.
Other highlights included a surprisingly beautiful rendition of The Twilight Saga’s A Thousand Years, as well as a cheeky tip of the cork hat to our Australian shores with a barnstorming take on John Farnham’s You’re the Voice. Peppered amongst the incredible musical numbers were self-effacing and charming jokes between two old friends, giving the performance an intimacy you might not expect from such a grand venue as Hamer Hall.
Michael Ball and Alfie Boe put on a show like no other, showing the thousands of enraptured fans that their love and adoration is certainly not ill-placed.
Michael Ball & Alfie Boe – Together
Hamer Hall – Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St. Kilda Road, Melbourne
Performance: Saturday 7 October 2017 – 8.00pm
Michael Ball & Alfie Boe will also perform at the State Theatre, Sydney (Wednesday 11 October); AEC Theatre, Adelaide (Saturday 14 October); and Crown Theatre, Perth (Monday 16 October). For more information, visit: www.livenation.com.au for details.
Image: Michael Ball & Alfie Boe – photo by Mitch Lowe
Review: David Collins