REVIEW: Les Musicals 2019, New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth.
Jonathan Ansell and Jai McDowall start off with a superb medley from The Greatest Showman – and fair enough.
They then spend the rest of the evening showing us it’s a title they might very well claim for themselves.
Britain’s Got Talent winner McDowall and Bognor boy and G4 frontman Jonathan Ansell clearly enjoy the easiest of rapports on stage. They are relaxed and the charm flows.
But when it comes to the vocals, they underline with every song, be it a solo or a duet, that they are performers both at the absolute top of their game.
The banter is the icing on the cake, but the cake itself is the gorgeous bit – a brilliant run through of some of the finest and most challenging/rewarding numbers in the musical theatre repertoire
They deliver them with panache; they deliver them with humour where required; and they deliver them with the most incredible oomph when the passions and emotions rise.
For those not completely in the know (OK, that’s me), once or twice it would have been nice to be told which song they are singing and which musical it comes from – and perhaps that’s something the boys can pick up on as the tour goes on.
But that’s the tiniest of niggles on a night of big numbers interspersed with fun in a selection beautifully chosen not just to showcase McDowall and Ansell, but also to showcase the sheer wealth of repertoire they had to draw on.
These are two guys with contrasting voices, but they blend them perfectly and with an apparent effortlessness which belies the huge artistry they both bring to the night. Different guys, different personalities, different voices – but a rich and splendid mix which works wonderfully well.
And so it builds to the medley we’ve all been waiting for, highlights from Les Mis delivered with huge pathos and power – before a We Will Rock You medley brings the house down for the encore.
Star quality from first to last…