WORTH A LOOK?: ****
WHERE?: London Coliseum via Stream Theatre
RUNTIME: 50 minutes (no interval)
WHEN?: 18/9 for one-night only
SETLIST: Live In The Light; I’ve Got To Sing My Song; I Know Where I’ve Been; Heaven Help Us All; Don’t Quit: I Will Survive; The Rose; Goldfinger: Diamonds Are Forever; Natural Woman; River Deep, Mountain High
There’s a reason one doesn’t often hear covers of songs best known by artists including Shirley Bassey and Tina Turner.
- Read on for reasons including how to see musical theatre stars including Carrie Hope Fletcher and Cassidy Janson in this special series of shows
Their voices are so iconic that it’s a brave or especially talented singer who can include the likes of Goldfinger and River Deep, Mountain High in their set.
Not only does the winner of our 2018 Best Theatre Actress monsta choose to do so but she is accompanied only by a sole pianist and what that exposure shows is what an extremely gifted performer D. Clarke is.
She arrives on stage at an empty Coliseum, which provides a beautiful yet evocative backdrop to this show, wearing a facemark bearing the words ‘The Show Must Go On’. You can buy one here to benefit the Theatre Support Fund.
‘This is my first time performing here,’ she tells us, ‘I’m so excited to be here but there’s nobody here, not a living soul. I’m going to sing some songs that I love to sing and that are a comment on the way things are at the moment.’
She reminisces about her wife Susie McKenna being so excited to see a Broadway preview of the show Hairspray, which D.Clarke would later star in, that she called to tell her at 4am UK time when the star had to be up 90 minutes later for work.
I Know Where I’ve Been is that song and its strident anti-racist sentiment shines all the brighter through the Black Lives Matter lens.
We can’t let this review go any further without naming that sole pianist, Mark Dickman, whom D. Clarke thanks, and during a far less disco I Will Survive than one might expect he really shows what a talent he is to have rethought something so well known so fully.
River Deep is the final song and we include a clip not from the show above to give a sense of how well D. Clarke sings it. When she’s in her stride there are very few who can outdo her. Her voice is the reason why she is one of the UK’s leading ladies of musical theatre and the power she brings to the song makes for an electrifying conclusion to this evening.
This show wasn’t as good as one of those transformative nights at the theatre where the shared experience cannot be beaten but it was a reminder, when so many of our theatres are currently dark, of what was and what will be again in the future.