Beyond The Barricade is the perfect night out for anyone who is a lover of musicals. And when I say musicals, I mean what some may consider the heavyweight musicals. As the title name suggests Beyond The Barricade includes a massive finale of Les Mis, amongst other classics that are the stars of West-End theatre. Andy Reiss started Beyond The Barricade along with David Fawcett 21 years ago after both treading the boards in Les Mis, so this current tour is a 21st birthday celebration and what a celebration it is!
The first half features numbers from Miss Saigon, The Phantom Of The Opera, and my all-time favourite musical, West Side Story. I felt a bit short changed that we only had one song from this, albeit the Tonight Quintet. But that is the difficulty, we all have favourites – how on earth do you pick the right songs? There was also outing from new musicals including Hamilton and Come From Away. The first half finale was from The Lion King which brought a tear to my eye. There were a couple of surprises as well. A medley of what is probably best known as children’s songs including zip e dee doo dah, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious and Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo. We were also treated to a couple of numbers from Carousel and as David said, You’ll Never Walk Alone is loved the world over – and not just by Liverpool fans. The show starts off with The Show Must Go On. For me this felt like an awkward distant cousin of what we are promised. Yes, it was in We Will Rock You - a jukebox musica,l but its best known as a Queen song. The second half features songs from Blood Brothers, Chicago, Starlight Express, Chess and Jesus Christ Superstar before the Les Mis finale.
GethsemaneJesus Christ SuperstarBlood BrothersThe show has four amazing vocalists, who have all trod the boards and all have been in Les Mis among other musicals. The background visuals build atmosphere, but there is no doubt that the stars of the performance are the superb vocalists. Andy is a force of nature. His vocals on was sublime. He reduced me to tears and this performance is worth the ticket price alone. I believe this is the best performance of this that I have ever witnessed, and as Jesus Christ Superstar is my favourite Tim Rice/Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, I have seen it a lot. David is funny and talented. Not only does he interact with the audience and even give us one or two jokes, but he is amicable and his acting really shines through, especially for me during from . He is also the perfect Jean Valjean and I really did feel we were experiencing West-End talent at its best.
Poppy Tierney has featured in Aspects Of Love, Chess, Cats, Miss Saigon as well as playing Cosette in the UK national tour so her CV speaks volumes before she even starts to sing. Her performance of Phantom Of The Opera tonight was outstanding and very suited to her voice. But for me, her highlight of the night was performing the whole of Chicago in five minutes. What a talent. Chicago isn’t one of my favourite musicals but after seeing Poppy doing it, I would be tempted to see it again. That’s how great her performance was. Jodie Beth Meyer has a beautiful warm tone to her voice. She has also featured in many UK performances including Tell Me On A Sunday, Saturday Night Fever and of course, Les Mis, Her performance of On My Own was simply stunning. I really enjoyed her performance.
The Les Mis finale of the show includes, Do You Hear The People Sing, One Day More, On My Own, I Dreamed A Dream and Bring Him Home. This was on a Sunday night in Aylesbury and there was standing ovations. This for me is always the barometer of a show – did the audience love it? Yes, they did.
Beyond The Barricade is currently touring the UK so if it comes your way – don’t miss it.