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Barnstaple Concert. Queen's Theatre. 1st June 2014
We entered the foyer of the theatre just before 7pm.The place was crowded with many familiar faces and even more new ones.
Wendy, Lee's agent, was sitting at a small table handing out leaflets and selling copies of all three of Lee's albums. The auditorium filled up rapidly and I could only see the odd empty seat. There were people leaning over the rails looking down on the rest of us. The place was buzzing with excitement and Lee was met with loud applause as he bounced onto the stage and launched himself straight into the first song.
His voice sounded fantastic. I can't really define it but it has many special qualities, great beauty, and more than anything else the power to draw you in, stir your emotions, and make you feel alive.
Lee seemed very at ease with himself, and with the audience, chatting away, giggling and smiling. And what a smile! I'm sure you know what I am talking about. A smile to brighten the darkest day. He told us that he had performed once before in that very same theatre when at the age of 19 he had played the Pharaoh in 'Joseph'. The lead, Joseph himself, had been played by an actor who was 42 years old at the time. He found this quite amusing, as he did the vintage chair he had been given to perch on for some of the songs. It was far too tall and if he sat right up on it, his legs just swung free making him feel like an oompah loompah. This he demonstrated several times, enjoying the comedy and saying he was really quite a normal sized man.
Lee's first guest was Stephen Rahman-Hughes. There was a great camaraderie between the two of them and Lee explained how Stephen had become a very good and supportive friend and how important this friendship had been to him during his personal crisis of the previous year.
Stephen sang with a strong, confident voice and it was great watching him and Lee perform 'Luck be a Lady'. Lee is always insisting that he can't dance but judging by that performance I think he is a better dancer than he gives himself credit for. He also shared the stage with Amanda Henderson, his new friend from Casualty, and they seemed happy and relaxed together. They sang the duet from Wicked, their voices complementing one another perfectly. She seemed much more at ease than at the Cardiff concert and let's hope she'll join Lee again in future concerts.
Stephen has a wicked sense of humour and told the audience that Lee's hair hadn't seen a comb for quite some time. Lee had been chatting nonstop between songs but for a moment he was lost for words. In fact, he had been talking more than was good for his voice and he started to complain that he was really knackered and that his voice was dry. Not surprising considering that he'd been up to London from Cardiff, then down to Southend, then back to London, and then down to Barnstaple and this concert all in less than two days. He had had several drinks of water and was urged to have more by the audience so that he was able to sing 'Bring Him Home' with his usual emotional intensity and hit that last high note even though his voice was showing signs of strain.
The concert finished with 'Any Dream Will Do' and from the applause and response of the audience it appeared that everyone had a great time.
The singing from all had been brilliant and, surprisingly, so had the comedy. Lee and Stephen together make a great double act.
Photos courtesy of Angela Owen
The West End Men. June 2013. Vauderville Theatre. London
A Glowing review of a night to remember, and a new Fab Four!
I have just returned from my 3rd visit to one of the most entertaining shows in the
West End - The West End Men! This show is nothing short of phenomenal, the four
leads have such charisma and camaraderie - their rapport with the audience is charming and faultless. The West End Men are - Lee Mead (Wicked,Legally Blonde, and the
winner of Any Dream Will do), Matt Willis (Wicked, Flashdance, Footloose and BRIT award winning member of Busted), Glenn Carter (Jersey Boys, Jesus Christ Superstar, Whistle Down the Wind) and Olivier award winning David Thaxton (Les Miserables,
Love Never Dies, and Passion). The four of them are just divine with performances that are so intimate and captivating that the 2 hour show seems over in an instant and
leaves you wanting more!
The show highlights songs from the West End and Broadway and also features a few catchy pop songs. One song effortlessly blends into another in fantastic audience pleasing theatrical style. Special mention must go to the wonderful live band and choir that support the guys on stage.
After the interval the lads are joined by special guest star Kerry Ellis (Wicked, Oliver,
We Will Rock You) who also gives an outstanding performance. What is so thrilling
about this piece is how much they appear to be enjoying themselves - all four really do give absolutely 100% and they wholeheartedly deserve the rapturous standing ovation
at each performance.
Glenn Carter will perform until 8th June and is being replaced by Stephen Rahman-Hughes - Kerry Ellis will perfirm until 15th June when Carley Stenson will have the pleasure of singing with the fab four!
If you love Theatre, a good laugh and plenty of banter then you will not be disappointed
if you make the effort to see this show before it finishes on 22nd June.
Sarah Forrester. June 7th