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Review: LIVE AT LOLA'S: A MUSICAL CHAT SHOW WITH STARS OF THE WEST END, Lola's Underground Casino at The Hippodrome

Review: LIVE AT LOLA'S: A MUSICAL CHAT SHOW WITH STARS OF THE WEST END, Lola's Underground Casino at The Hippodrome

Greg Barnett get cosy and chatty with Christine Allado, Hadley Fraser, Isaac Hesketh, and Carly Mercedes Dyer in a clever new format.

Review: LIVE AT LOLA'S: A MUSICAL CHAT SHOW WITH STARS OF THE WEST END, Lola's Underground Casino at The Hippodrome The same creators of Monday Night at the Apollo and West End Acoustic launched a new series at Lola's Underground Casino last night. Aptly titled Live at Lola's: A Musical Chat Show with Stars of the West End, this first iteration saw Greg Barnett get cosy and chatty with Christine Allado, Hadley Fraser, Isaac Hesketh, and Carly Mercedes Dyer.

It's an exciting, original format. Resembling more to a daytime talk show than to a traditional cabaret, the audience joins in in the scripted malarkey while the guests discuss anything from dream roles to nervous poos. It truly is a chance to get up close and personal with the stars to discover personalities as big as their voices while they perform songs that are meaningful to their lives and careers.

We learnt that a raccoon judged Fraser's vocal technique during an open-air run of The Last Five Years in Colorado a decade and a half ago and Allado was fired from her job as a lead in Theatreland because she called in sick to fly to the Philippines for a concert she'd booked. The silliness leaves space for wholesome moments: the impact their mums had on them, the importance of listening as an actor, and how sometimes life surprises you when plans fail - Dyer's a prime example.

The performer was meant to start her run as Jane Seymour in Six during the pandemic, but due to restrictions and other problems, she never got to make her debut. She was, instead, cast in Anything Goes with Sutton Foster, a part that earned her an Olivier Award nomination.

Mostly, evenings like this celebrate the journeys that led these people to the stage. Allado recalls fondly how watching a performance of The Lion King made her want to move from the Philippines to study at the Royal Academy of Music (we also found out that she shares a music teacher with Fraser and Barnett, it's a small world).

Before a stirring rendition of "Part of Your World", Hesketh shared how their mum had them sing the song as loudly as they could in the bath so she'd know they were okay while she was in a different room. Going from being a mermaid in the tub to originating the first non-binary Disney character in an unpcoming (and still secret) live-action project is quite the flex.

Before a quiz-like round where guests and audience were tested on theatre trivia, a segment dubbed "Finishing The Hat" was an opportunity for the public to have their burning questions answered. Submitted before the start, the queries spanned role models and fantasy dinners in a fun quick-fire session. But the core of the night was the gorgeous performances given by the artists.

Dyer's "The Music and the Mirror" from A Chorus Line was show-stopping. Fraser got emotional during "Anyone Can Whistle". Allado's vocal prowess dazzled in "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man" from Show Boat before he joined Fraser in a stripped-down interpretation of "Shallow" from A Star is Born - move along, Lady Gaga! It was a feast for the ears. Whilst for now this seems to be a one-off, it has the potential to be a huge side-splitting success.

This Live at Lola's performance will be followed by Overtures, a singalong event, in the new year.

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From This Author - Cindy Marcolina

Italian export. Member of the Critics' Circle (Drama). Also a script reader and huge supporter of new work. Twitter: @Cindy_Marcolina

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