Kerry Ellis and Louise Dearman in Concert at the Prince Edward Theatre, London.
Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★
Louise Dearman and Kerry Ellis celebrated their 20 year friendship with a one night only concert packed with their favourite songs, endless crowd pleasers and the songs that left a ‘handprint on their hearts’.
It truly is a sign of a good friendship when the slightest thing can set you off in a fit of giggles, but the glowing pride each fabulous leading lady feels for her friend is hard to miss. The actress/singers say that they chose their material based on what their audience would want to hear and songs that would be the most fun to perform. And Ellis and Dearman definitely know the meaning of the word fun.
Opening songs Wicked’s ‘Defying Gravity’, Bond song ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ and Rihanna’s ‘Diamonds’ will always be a success with audiences. Even more so with two such powerful and beautiful voices put together. Starting with their inspirations, they performed a wonderfully arranged Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand medley. They then continued with a heartfelt Cilla Black tribute, featuring ‘Anyone Who Had a Heart’ and ‘Alfie’.
There were some wonderful duets throughout the night including ‘Let Me Be Your Star’, ‘I Know Him So Well’ and ‘Nobody’s Side’, and there was also some amazing choreography to accompany Sia’s ‘Chandelier’. The selection was chosen to incorporate musical theatre and popular music with plenty of original arrangements. Solo performances were just as sensational, including Ellis’ take on Katy Perry’s ‘Teenage Dream’ and ‘The One That Got Away’ and Dearman’s arrangement for Annie Lennox’s ‘Little Bird’.
Indeed, the two humorously revealed a competitive edge in ‘Anything You Can Do’, merged with each one singing the songs that the other so famously performed; Evita’s ‘Don’t Cry For Me Argentina’, Cats’ ‘Memory’ and Les Misérables’ ‘I Dreamed a Dream’. Both Dearman (Elphaba and Glinda) and Ellis (Elphaba) have led the cast of Wicked at some point in their careers and so rather fittingly completed this medley with ‘I’m Not That Girl’.
Evidently, there were too many favourite songs to miss out so quite a large portion of the concert consisted of medleys with one of the highlights being a range of songs from their college days.
They summed up the show in the best possible way they could and as a true reflection of their friendship and careers, singing Wicked’s ‘For Good’.
It is an absolute joy to watch such a natural rapport on stage. Insults flying around, harmless competition and laughter that makes it hard to speak is a true sign of friendship. While ‘leading lady’ is a title bestowed on many, only a select few are really worthy of it, Louise Dearman and Kerry Ellis definitely fit the bill.
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Interview – Kerry Ellis and Louise Dearman prepare for their one-off London concert in September.