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Beyond the Barricade

Past principal performers from Les Mis present songs from the show plus some from West Side Story, Chess, Miss Saigon, Phantom & more.
New Theatre, Mon December 3rd 2007 & Mon October 27th 2008

October 28, 2008
Beyond the Barricade are an acclaimed theatre company featuring performers who have played principal parts in the hit musical Les Miserables. The four singers stand at the front of the stage, each illuminated by a spotlight, and deliver an exhilarating evening of powerful and tender songs from musicals of recent years. Beginnning with shows by Andrew Lloyd Webber, the audience were treated to some of the best numbers from Jesus Christ Superstar, Phantom of the Opera, and Cats. Andy Reiss and Becci Morrell gave an excellent rendition of 'All I Ask of You', and Morrell’s 'I Don’t Know How to Love Him' set a high standard for the evening that was met throughout.

The musicals Blood Brothers, Miss Saigon and The Lion King featured, as well as two playful tunes from the more recent musical Spamalot. The songs were broken up by David Fawcett’s cheerful joking with the audience and introductions to the musicals. Many of the crowd pleasers were songs from the shows We Will Rock You and Mamma Mia, featuring the music of Queen and ABBA respectively. Fawcett introduced the ABBA songs by expressing his reluctance to include them, his mind finally being made up by hearing Pierce Brosnan’s attempts in the film.

The touring company travel light with just three musicians (and extra keyboards from Reiss, who is very much at the heart of the show’s musical direction). Keyboards, bass, and drums make up the musical accompaniment. The skill of the musicians does not take away from the feeling that this evening would be so much better with an orchestra, or at least three or four more musicians, rather than string sounds on keyboards. However, such luxuries are probably not an option for a small touring company.

The group finished with songs from Les Miserables, and most notable of these was David Fawcett’s 'Bring Him Home', and Katie Leeming’s 'On My Own' – songs both performers have sung previously while starring in the musical itself. This extended finale, all featuring songs from Les Mis, prompted an encore and loud appreciation from the crowd. The show is terrific entertainment from a versatile and talented group, whose enthusiasm for musical theatre was matched by their talent to share it with an appreciative audience.

Watched 'Beyond the Barricade' last night: a brilliant evening, very enjoyable. Am looking forward to going again next year.

Am I the only one disappointed with "Beyond the Barricade"? What I saw was a group of performers with beautiful voices, but I felt like they didn't put anything into the performance, there was no spark to show they knew what the songs were all about. I'm the hugest fan of Les Miserables, have seen it in the west end, and it's my favourite musical. When one of the girls sang "I dreamed a dream" it was perfectly sculpted, with good diction but was devoid of feeling and emotion. I felt short-changed. I'm not usually a cynical person, especially about shows but I was genuinely disappointed that she'd managed to remove feeling from one of the most heartfelt songs ever (in my opinion). It ticked me off, to be honest.

It showed me the importance of musicality and facial expressions in performance. I'm training to be in musical theatre and my resolution is to project the emotion in every song.

Also, the setup was predictable, and the performers walking offstage or stepping back in solos was really boring and predictable. I felt like this was a show that used to be great (shown in the two guys' performances - especially "Oh what a circus":) but now it's sadly going downhill.
I attended Beyond the Baricade when it came to Harrogate at the Conference Centre just before Christmas. It was an amazing evening with wonderful singing. I always go when it's in my town, but unfortunately it wasn't well attended by the folks who live here and I hope it doesn't put Beyond the Barricade off visiting us in the future. Well done to you all - you are simply the best.
Having just seen the show in Eastbourne just had to say what a wonderful show it was. We love live music and both sing so we appreciated how difficult it was to sing some of the songs and were impressed with the vocal ability of the case.

We hope to see them again in the near future and bring along other friends.
I, and my friends and family have been regular supporters of Beyond the Barricade for the past 3 years. Their presence in Oxford is one of the musical theatre highlights of the year, and we should be encouraging this type of live performance.

Beyond the Barricade have never dressed up a show in the way the previous reviewer is asking them to do. The singing IS the focus, not the costumery, or scenery.

The 4 singers deliver the best of the west end with no frills. And the FOUR piece band, although small, create the orchestrations of the West End with amazing creativity, and without any pre recorded mini discs or the like. I and many other regular followers find that refreshing.

If you wish to leave your old reviews online then please give a balanced viewpoint, so that 12 months later our community has a chance to appreciate true talent.
The show stars past principal performers from Les Miserables but the most miserable aspect which greets you is the stage set - six small plastic white Christmas trees, a bit of tinsel and a tin foil star are hardly a dazzling first impression!

The evening opened with songs from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar. The four singers - David Fawcett, Meshell Dillon, Katie Leeming and Andy Reiss - soon proved why they were stars in hit productions. A powerful version of I Don’t Know How to Love Him was followed by hits from the Phantom of the Opera.

Another good choice was Don’t Cry For Me Argentina but a distinct lack of costume change or stage set was becoming a bit annoying, and the static microphones were hardly conducive to the romantic numbers. It only seemed to highlight the lack of chemistry between the couples and the cheapness of the set.

David’s jokes in between sets were entertaining but we hadn’t gone to see a comedy routine and the choice of songs from the Monty Python team’s show Spamalot fell flat. Always Look on the Bright Side of Life would have been okay with the right crowd but hardly any of the audience joined in. Miss Saigon was a lot more appropriate but Disney’s Lion King did not work either.

A change of pace before the interval brought Queen hits Radio Gaga and Bohemian Rhapsody. The quartet was great but the rock numbers did show the inadequacies of the three-piece band.

After the interval I was looking on the bright side of life and hoping for a change of set but those trees still hadn’t been lopped down! The fabulous four had changed into glittery costumes but began to sing Christmas songs the like of which you could hear in any working man’s club around the country, although a moving version of Ave Maria raised the tone a little.

Finally, the reason why we were all there - to hear some songs from Les Miserables. These were sung beautifully and the stage limitations no longer mattered. On My Own and I Dreamed a Dream showcased the talents of the beautiful women and the richness and range of David’s voice was evident in One Day More. Master of the House also proved that Andy Reiss as Monsieur Thenardier looked far more comfortable in character.

This show is a mixed bag that lurches from the sublime to the ridiculous with some uncomfortable moments that mask the genuine talent of the performers. The producers need to spend more money, get a new set, some more costumes and a few dancers next time. Vive la revolution!
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