[ADELAIDE PREMIERE ~ UK ~ IF YOU LOVE… MUSIC THAT MOVES YOU]
The Famous Spiegeltent, Fri 21 Jun.
Ruthie Henshall has made herself a glittering career as a lead in many popular and famous musicals in the West End and on Broadway. Tonight she is here to perform some of her most renowned renditions in a solo concert with piano accompaniment by Paul Schofield, her long time musical director and partner in a publishing company.
Tying the songs together is a loose story of Ruthie’s life with some amusing anecdotes about the road to the top of her game and a few of her performance mishaps along the way.
Ruthie’s warm personality is evident from the moment of her entrance. She engages with the audience with humour and openness and it is clear that she is fully aware which songs many of the audience have come to hear, and she in turn is happy to oblige.
However tonight some of the standout songs were not just the renditions of Fontaine’s I Dreamed A Dream from Les Misérables or a clever medley of female roles from Chicago – she has conquered all three female lead roles and is ready to take on the male ones – but also the comedy songs.
Victoria Woods’ Barry And Freda was hilarious with Ruthie milking every possible nuance for all it was worth. It was clear from Ruthie’s diction, timing and pure enjoyment in her own performance, that despite having played so many sad and suffering roles in various shows throughout her career, comedy is something of a forte for her. Another comedy gem put Ruthie’s acting chops on display when she had the audience chortling as she saucily read train station intercom announcements. Such a hoot!
Ruthie’s lower registers are silky rich and she has vocal power enough to spare. When singing So Big, So Small from the musical Dear Evan Hansen the audience as a unit are almost in tears – as is the performer herself, as she helps us all reflect on the turmoil experienced by children of broken marriages. This is a raw, fragile and emotional moment.
Sondheim songs such as The Ladies Who Lunch are also a standout, as are Paul Schofield’s music charts and exuberant playing.
A versatile, waggish and warm performer, Ruthie Henshall shared her life’s highs and lows and showed us the range of her musical tastes. The Beatles’ In My Life as the encore, encapsulated tonight’s set.
Ruthie Henshall – Live & Intimate continues at The Famous Spiegeltent, Adelaide Festival Centre, from 7.30pm until Sat 22 Jun.
Book at BASS on 131 246 and adelaidecabaretfestival.com.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.