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BWW Review: TONIGHT AT THE LONDON COLISEUM: CASSIDY JANSON, London Coliseum

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With theatres across the country still dark, Janson’s concert proves that the magic of live performance, though different right now as we move to virtual, is still vital

BWW Review: TONIGHT AT THE LONDON COLISEUM: CASSIDY JANSON, London Coliseum BWW Review: TONIGHT AT THE LONDON COLISEUM: CASSIDY JANSON, London Coliseum

I had the privilege of seeing Cassidy Janson perform at London's iconic Coliseum in Man Of La Mancha last year, so to see her return to the stage now, without an audience in light of the pandemic, was tinged with sadness. However, the hour of blissful concert escapism she provided radiated joy as Janson took us through a series of numbers that have shaped her musical theatre career, as well as songs she loves.

As a Beautiful: The Carole King Musical fan, and indeed of Janson's performance in the title role, it was a treat to hear her revisit so many of these wonderful songs throughout her set. The minute I heard the opening bars of "I Feel The Earth Move", I instantly felt uplifted and a need to move along with the music abounded, buoyed by Janson's infectious smile. There were also renditions of "You've Got A Friend", "It's Too Late", "Beautiful", "So Far Away", and of course "Natural Woman", to make one's Carole King cup overflow with delight.

I was intrigued to find out what the rest of her set would encompass, having come to know her first in the role of Carole King, and was surprised to hear James Taylor ("Fire And Rain"), Bob Dylan ("Tight Connection to My Heart"), The Beatles ("Here, There And Everywhere") and Celine Dion, including a nod to her role in & Juliet with "That's The Way It Is". Accompanied by musicians affectionally dubbed "the two Adams" (Adam Dennis - MD and piano, and Adam Goldsmith on guitar), we got an eclectic mix of songs and styles skilfully and beautifully arranged to showcase Janson's powerful range and versatility.

Audiences were introduced to Cassidy's other musical ventures with a nod to the trio she is part of (The Leading Ladies, alongside Amber Riley and Beverley Knight) and the sultry "When A Woman" from her debut self-titled album. The transitions between songs may not have flowed as smoothly as they could have, but Janson's endearing dry wit helped there. "And the crowd goes wild!" she laughed. And "I can't play the piano in heels, I discovered recently," she quipped before commandeering the instrument herself for a song or two, taking off her shoes. Before "Will You Love Me Tomorrow", she apologised that there would only be her line of harmony, having recorded the song alongside Riley and Knight.

Janson always astonishes with her ability to draw us into the emotion of a song and to interpret lyrics, and nowhere was this more apparent than a particular moment later in the set. She introduced it with "So, about a year and a half ago, I went to the cinema and saw this film...", going onto to mention Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. My knee-jerk reaction was thinking "Oh joy, another Shallow cover", and thus was incredibly excited to hear her say she'd be doing a different song from A Star Is Born. She treated us to "I'll Never Love Again", which was undoubtedly my highlight of the set: it was raw, intense and set wonderful chills up my spine.

With theatres across the country still dark, Janson's concert proved that the magic of live performance, though different right now as we move to virtual, is still vital and very much alive.

Tonight at the London Coliseum is a series of online concerts with various West End stars. Cassidy Janson's concert was on 2 October

Photo Credit: Danny Kaan


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