WORTH A LOOK?: *****
WHERE: Leicester Square Theatre
WHEN: 13/4, runs to 14/4/18
We’ve always been big fans of John Barrowman but why have we never heard of the wise-cracking pianist and interviewer Seth Rudetsky who brings out the very best of the Torchwood star here?
- Read on for reasons including how Barrowman’s first audition was his big break
His Broadway@Leicester Square Theatre series has already featured Patti LuPone and Audra McDonald and if they were anything like this 95-minute mix of songs and career anecdotes from their subjects they will have made them even more endearing than they were already.
Barrowman’s in tears as he sings the song written for a woman that a former music teacher, now dead, urged him not to sing because it was not right for him.
We learn how he was so ill that he convinced himself he was HIV-positive and in the fortnight it took to receive the result, which was negative, he went back home to stay with his parents and come out to them.
We last saw Barrowman in the West End as Albin in La Cage Aux Folles at the Playhouse Theatre in 2009 and he’s lost none of the power and precision he displayed then as he sings many of the musical numbers that have featured in his illustrious stage career.
We learn how Stephen Sondheim described him as the definitive Bobby in Company (revived in the West End this autumn with Rosalie Craig playing the part at the Gielgud Theatre) because he chose to do it as a man who has never grown up rather than one who is gay.
Barrowman tells us that his audition for his first West End starring role (opposite Elaine Paige in Anything Goes) was his first and that Paige had said to him: ‘Are you going to sink or swim, darling?’ as the curtain went up.
While our enthusiasm for Barrowman was boosted by this peak behind his showbiz facade, we’ll be digging out all we can on Rudetsky because he was an unexpected scream as a host.
Not an evening we had especially high hopes for but that was so entertaining that we would happily have sat there listening and watching all weekend.