Kerry Ellis – The Pheasantry

Regarded as the First Lady of Musical Theatre, Kerry Ellis

Kerry Ellis performed in cabaret at The Pheasantry, London

Kerry Ellis performed at The Pheasantry, London.

What a pleasure to see Kerry Ellis and hear her gorgeous voice in such an intimate venue, accompanied by just a piano, after having admired her in Wicked, Oliver! and My Fair Lady.

I was first saw Ellis 13 years ago in the National Theatre revival of My Fair Lady at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Her heartfelt and beautiful medley from the show was a welcome reminder of that performance.

It was the actress and singer’s musical theatre repertoire which dominated the evening, with the exception of her opening James Bond medley. But what was different was the intimacy of the whole experience. Even Ellis’ ‘Defying Gravity’ was stripped of a pop arrangement, enhancing emotion over bravura (the last note was surprisingly but happily subdued) and leading to a touching encore, a moving rendition of ‘Alfie’ dedicated to her young son.

The rest of the set was basically one hit song after the other, but with a humorous patter and some original arrangements for which we must be thankful to her long time musical director Craig Adams (composer of the musical Lift and whose new work  Thérèse Raquin is soon to open at London’s Finborough Theatre).

It’s hard to pick highlights, but Ellis’ Tell Me On a Sunday medley seemed to bring out the best of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black’s work. There was an original, uptempo version of Sondheim’s ‘Losing My Mind’, while her renditions of two Oliver! songs and ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ from Les Misérables were also memorable.

Having seen this performance, I was sorry to have missed Ellis’ concert at the London Palladium concert last year, but was happy to hear there were plans to re-create the show for a recording.

Patrick Honoré

Readers may also be interested in:

Kerry Ellis in Concert, sublimely enjoyable – Review

Julie Atherton stars in musical version of Thérèse Raquin at the Finborough Theatre – News

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