Roles We'll Never Play
Rating: ★★★★★
Venue: Clapham Grand, London 

Roles We’ll Never Play will see a star studded cast performing songs outside of their casting brackets. Notable performances in the past have included a show stopping all male version of ‘Ex-Wives’ from ‘Six The Musical’ and power house leading lady Alice Fearn ending the show with an incredible rendition of Santa Fe from Disney's Newsies.

This is an exceptional cast so expect big performances and show stopping vocals!

While there's been several Roles We'll Never Play concerts in the past, created by the wonderful Tom Duern, this was my first time. And one thing's for certain, it definitely will not be the last. I spoke to people who had been to every concert and had travelled over three hours for the show last night, and after experiencing it, it's not difficult to see why.

Over the years, Roles We'll Never Play has become bigger and better. Due to audience demand, the concert started at modest venues, and has since had concerts at the Apollo, Vaudeville and the Lyric Theatre in London's West End. Last night was no exception to iconic venues, and was staged at Clapham Grand.

The line up for last night was nothing short of exceptional. Our cast included: Samuel Bailey, Luke Bayer, Emily Benjamin, Courtney Bowman, Connor Carson, Lauren Chia, Josh Clemetson, Lewis Cornay, Jessica Daley, Tom Duern, Alice Fearn, Evelyn Hoskins, Eve Norris, Idriss Kargbo, Ying Ue Li, Rob Madge, Toby Marlow, Genevieve Nicole, Shane O’Riordan, Parisa Shahmir, Hana Stewart, Joe Thompson-Oubari, Joaquin Pedro Valdes and Eloise Davies.

If you're wondering what to expect from these concerts, the title sums it up perfectly. A cast of top musical theatre talent come together for one evening and sing songs from roles they'll not necessarily ever be able to play. (I won't say never because Courtney Bowman proved the title incorrect when she became little Miss Woods, Elle!).

Before the show began, we were treated to an acoustic set from the band, Remember Monday. A UK country trio consisting of Lauren Byrne, Holly-Anne Hull and Charlotte Steele. A trio that recently gave up their West End jobs and became a girl group full time! They performed a few of their originals, and ended the set with a stunning cover of "A Soft Place to Land", from Waitress.

Our hosts for the evening were Roles We'll Never Play legend, Carl Mullaney and leading lady, Grace Mouat. They led the evening with enthusiasm and wit; making a wickedly funny duo. They introduced each performer, as well as their song choice and the musical it was from. However, I would have liked a programme of some variety as I was frantically scribbling names and song choices down as not to forget anyone. There were a few minor problems with sound throughout, but nothing that affected the overall enjoyment of the show too much.

We were treated to a plethora of sensational musical theatre performances. Rob Madge's performance of "Naughty" from Matilda was certainly the most memorable of the evening. They used their performance as a platform for trans rights and the lyric changes, "you mustn't let a little thing like Rishi stop you", and "sometimes you have to say fuck the Tories", earned a well-deserved standing ovation from the audience.

My personal favourites from the evening were Connor Carson's version of "Nobody's Side" from Chess, which worked surprisingly well with male vocals, and Toby Marlow's dramatic rendition of "Bet On It", from High School Musical. Troy Bolton, eat your heart out

Lauren Chia chose "Maria" from West Side Story, and the song performed in a higher range was simply stunning. Jessica Daley sang "Friend Like Me" from Aladdin, and now I'm convinced we need a female genie in the near future. Emily Benjamin and Ying Ue Li sang "You and Me (But Mostly Me)" from Book of Mormon, and what an incredible duo they were (with ridiculously brilliant outfits to match!).

Josh Clemetson blew us away with his cover of, "Poor Unfortunate Souls" from The Little Mermaid. It was over the top and simply fabulous. Speaking of over the top and fabulous, Idriss Kargbo's cover of "No Way" from smash-hit Six was fiercely brilliant; complete with a dance break too!

And the backing vocalists were given their time to shine with a beautiful medley of Annie and Oliver. Isaiah Davies' rendition of "Tomorrow" was incredible, and despite the issues with Ciara Lyons' microphone, she completely smashed "Consider Yourself" from Oliver.

However, the closing number of the evening was undoubtedly the best. Connor Carson, Luke Bayer, Lewis Cornay and Tom Duern painted the sky green as they became Elphaba to end the night. They sung Defying Gravity and reminded us why this evening is such a rare treat for fans of musical theatre.

Musical director, Flynn Sturgeon, must be applauded for the evening, as re-orchestrating every song is no small feat. An evening to enjoy iconic musical theatre songs reimagined and sung by your favourite performers. A truly brilliant idea that I hope returns again and again.

Did you get a chance to see Roles We'll Never Play? What did you think?

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