BWW Review: RACHEL TUCKER, Shoreditch Town Hall
Following a hugely successful UK tour and an engagement at the acclaimed Feinstein's/54 Below in New York, West End star Rachel Tucker has become a celebrated solo performer.
With her biggest one-woman show to date at the glorious Shoreditch Town Hall, the singer - who is perhaps best known for portraying the green witch Elphaba in Wicked, both in London and on Broadway - was at the top of her game with a performance that was packed with funny anecdotes and a wonderfully diverse programme of songs.
Flouncing into the auditorium - along with her backing singers Amanda Coutts and Jodie Steele - Tucker began with a comical rendition of the Bette Midler classic ditty "Miss Otis Regrets", before launching into "The Candy Man" from the musical film Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory.
Oozing a down-to-earth and natural charm, Rachel Tucker completely captivates her audience, and after a witty altercation with MD Kris Rawlinson, showed off her powerful belt with "Your Right Hand Man" from the Broadway hit Something Rotten!.
Fans of Wicked were in for a treat, too, with a story about when Rachel first sang on stage at the Apollo Victoria Theatre during the BBC Talent show I'd do Anything. It was during a masterclass by Kerry Ellis (a former Elphaba, who was at also at last night's concert), and after telling the story and deciding that the collective noun for previous 'green girls' should be 'A coven of Elphabas', Rachel invited another Wicked alum, Emma Hatton, to join her in an upbeat version of "I'm Not That Girl".
Other Act One highlights included a bossa nova-style "Where is Love" from Oliver!, and an absolutely beautiful version of "You Will be Found" from the Tony Award-winning Broadway show Dear Evan Hanson, with the Stage Box Musical Theatre Choir to close the first half.
Act Two started with a bang with Tucker returned to the stage for a fully choreographed and spicy rendition of "All that Jazz", before a set of tributes to one of her childhood idols, Judy Garland, with "Get Happy", "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and "The Man that Got Away" - which was a real masterclass in acting through song.
She then showed her versatility with an unaccompanied and very touching version of the traditional Irish ballad "She Moved Through the Fair", before performing a song she had written for her GCSE music course entitled "I'm Falling".
After some classy interpretations of some crooners' classics, including "That's Life" and "Bridge Over Troubled Water", the feisty songstress brought the house down with "Defying Gravity" (from Wicked) before performing a pensive version of "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road".
Despite the size of the venue (Shoreditch Town Hall has a capacity of 700), Rachel Tucker managed to maintain an intimate feel to this performance, and proved once again that she is a real all-round entertainer.