Two musical theatre greats on one stage. Two spectacular voices merging in some of the greatest songs in the genre along with some surprising numbers that you wouldn’t automatically associate with them. Micheal Ball and Alfie Boe together at the Plymouth Pavilions was a great night out for any musical theatre fan. An arena show full of style and incredible vocals, with each number linked with plenty of laughs and ‘banter’ between the two performers.
I will admit that this is the first time I have been to a show like this. I am much more accustomed to shows with a plot line to follow along with than I am with concert shows such as this, but when I heard that Micheal Ball and Alfie Boe would be bringing their together tour to Plymouth, I knew that I had to attend. With this being a new style of show for me, it need feel a little strange at first to see performers being themselves on stage rather then playing a character but I quickly got used to this once the show got going.
Of course, it is sort of a given that the vocals were amazing but hearing these two musical theatre greats singing live was something else. From the moment we first heard Alfie Boe, you could feel that excitement and awe in the room. I saw Micheal Ball playing the role of Mack Sennett in Mack and Mabel last year, but hearing sing in this concert style was so different. His performance of gethsemane was incredible, and he said so himself that it was one of his favourite songs to sing no matter how difficult it was. Then of course there was a cheer throughout the arena hall when he sang a snippet of ‘Empty chairs at empty tables’ during the much anticipated Les Miserables medley.
On that subject, hearing Alfie Boe sing ‘Bring him Home’ live was amazing and a week deserved standing ovation. Does anyone sing that song better than Alfie Boe? Yet, he was able to show his skills by going from singing classic musical songs to singing rock classic ‘Rain on me’. Both Ball and Boe showcased their abilities to sing in different genres with many different medleys including swing, Elvis Presley and James Bond classics.
With this concert taking place on November 9th, there was of course one subject that had to come up in conversation. The US Election and it’s surprising results. Needless to say, both Ball and Boe struggled to keep a straight face whilst performing ‘Tell me it’s not true’. The laughter continued throughout the show with Ball injecting cheeky comments and laughing at Boe’s ‘dad dancing’. His fit of the giggles before performing ‘what a wonderful world’ had the whole audience laughing along with him nearly as much as Alfie’s story of telling his young son that the new presidents name was Donald Fart.
Nevertheless, there was some negatives. Yet none of these negatives had anything to do with the performances. No. Despite the fact that it clearly stated no cameras, both the lady beside me and in front of me were not only taking pictures but had taken to broadcasting the performances live on Facebook! What happened to the whole phones go off during a show rule?
The other negative for me was unfortunately the venue. I now know for sure that I am a theatre person, not an arena person. The problems started straight away with the audience left standing out in the cold until 45 minutes before the show was due to start leading to a tight squeeze through the ticket lines when the doors were opened. It seemed very unorganised. There was also confusion for me when I found that my ticket didn’t have a door number printed in it, and finding that there were no members of staff on the arena doors, I had to weave my way through the crowds at the bar to find someone to ask. Not to mention the fact that for a number of days before the event, the start time kept changing on the venue website, this may have explained why the show started late as people were still piling into the arena.
Despite the seemingly recent decorations to the venues main foyer, complete with cafe and numerous seating areas, the two sets of ladies toilets were dated and grim with old automated taps/hand dryers and only one mirror that you couldn’t use because it was against the wall were people were queuing to get in. The main arena itself was also dated, with bare wooden floors and lines and lines of very uncomfortable school style chairs tightly squeezed together. A performance as good as this could have filled the Theatre Royal so I just wonder why it had to settle for this old fashioned and desperately in need of some TLC building?
In conclusion the show was amazing and a brilliantly fun night out. The vocals were spectacular and the fun between the two performers was great. I loved the night out, with the highlights for me being the Les Miserables Medley, but it would take another show like this to make me go back to the Plymouth Pavilions.