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Review: SIERRA BOGGESS, Cadogan Hall

Review: SIERRA BOGGESS, Cadogan Hall

Review: SIERRA BOGGESS, Cadogan Hall Since making her Broadway debut as Ariel in Disney's The Little Mermaid in 2007, Sierra Boggess has firmly established herself as one of theatre's biggest stars on both sides of the Atlantic.

She is synonymous with The Phantom of the Opera, having played Christine for several engagements (including the 25th Anniversary Concert at the Royal Albert Hall). Her transatlantic career has also seen her originate the role of Christine in Love Never Dies in London and Ms. Mullins in School of Rock on Broadway.

Boggess's most recent role in the West End was Fantine in Les Misérables eight years ago, so her return to the London stage - in two concerts staged at Cadogan Hall - was long overdue. As an esteemed concert performer, Boggess is at home onstage as herself. Not only did the varied setlist showcase her stunning talents, but Boggess's joyous personality shone through and it was impossible not to be charmed by her energy, outlook and humour. She was accompanied by six tremendous musicians including her sister, Summer Boggess, on the cello.

An early highlight of the performance was Boggess's rendition of "Think Of Me" from The Phantom of the Opera, broken up into three very different styles. Firstly Boggess paid tribute to Las Vegas - where she first played Christine - transforming the angelic number into a Christina Aguilera-esque all-riffing, all-growling powerhouse number.

She then did a segment of the song in French - having been cast in the first French language production of Phantom, which was cancelled after the theatre caught fire - and finally taking the song back to its roots and performing in "the Queen's English", bringing several audience members to their feet.

It was a treat to see Boggess revisiting The Little Mermaid for a rendition of "Part of Your World" and interesting to then hear her discuss the fan mail she received when playing Ariel and then Christine. Ariel never felt like she belonged whilst Christine loved the unlovable, which is why people relate to these characters so strongly - and, in turn, fans saw Boggess as someone they could write to and share personal experiences with. Boggess stated that she always replied with her mantra "You are enough", which is something she spoke about throughout the course of the show.

Other highlights from the first act included a hypnotic rendition of "Come To My Garden" from The Secret Garden and the title number from Love Never Dies, both evoking huge responses from the crowd. As the show progressed, Boggess cast London under her spell and you could have heard a pin drop in the auditorium. She made the glorious Cadogan Hall feel intimate, paving way for such a personal show.

The second act saw more wonderful stories and perfectly crafted song choices. Rather than opting to sing "I Dreamed A Dream", Boggess opened the second half with "Stars" from Les Misérables, a song usually performed in the show by Javert. This worked a treat, concluding on a magnificent high (in every sense of the word).

Continuing with the personal theme, Boggess paid tribute to various figures in her life, from the legendary Gillian Lynne and Hal Prince (who choreographed and directed Phantom respectively) to her grandparents. There were also several mentions of Andrew Lloyd Webber, including one magnificent story about when Andrew asked her to "knock something together" to perform for The Queen at a banquet celebrating the Diamond Jubilee. Whilst telling the story, Boggess performed a version of ""If My Friends Could See Me Now" from Sweet Charity, showcasing her exquisite comic timing.

This then led into "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again" from Phantom, which was the song she performed for Her Majesty. Not only did Boggess perform every lyric as if she were singing it for the first time, but equally I felt I was discovering the song for the first time. Whilst I'm sure she has told these stories and performed these numbers in countless concerts across the world, she delivered everything with spontaneity and a twinkle in her eye.

The show was brought to a close with a stirringly simple rendition of "No One Is Alone" from Into The Woods, which was a reminder that Boggess is in her element when performing something so simple and stripped back. She doesn't need to be doing vocal gymnastics for her masterful talent to shine through. Sierra Boggess has something special which can't be taught, and I hope the next time she performs in London it's for a longer engagement. The West End is calling!

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