Skip to content

Sheridan In Concert. Royal Albert Hall

April 25, 2018

24th April 2018.

Sheridan Smith is a modern day Judy Garland. Same luminescent unique talent, same bundle of insecurities. Only difference being that in the 21st century it is OK, beneficial, to admit it on stage and even mark those struggles with an appropriate song.

Last night, in front of over 4,000 people she did so with tremendous courage, giving a performance that felt all the more special as her demons were recognised and fought throughout the evening.

Some of it was showmanship, a good deal of it was simply Ms Smith’s “off the wall” personality, but for those of us sitting close to the stage, there were genuine moments of “what comes next? What do I? How can I?” hinting that there is a long and treacherous path still ahead. Let’s hope she can stay on it.

For this was a rare opportunity to glimpse a talent on stage unconfined by the constraints of musical theatre rules, and the chance was grasped with bravery. The interval divided a show into a first half of selections from her album, and a second “naughtier” free-ranging romp.

Entering in a tomato red dress that would have done Marilyn Monroe proud, “Don’t Rain On My Parade” got things off to a lively start, with her honesty about the art of the ‘segue’ touching on the personal with her second choice, “Crazy.” A swig of “water” (as she had it, and I’m inclined to go with the joke about vodka), had her slinking around to “I Smell a Rat.”

Some comedy with mike stand and a jacket, plus a personal revelation, let her rock “Addicted to Love,”  before a change of tone gave us “Dinner at Eight” and a modern yet still timeless “Mad About the Boy,” her acting skills at the fore.

“ Superstar,” if I’m honest was perhaps too mature for her – I’ve heard it done better by others, but the first half closer, “City of Stars” in a hall lit only by the phone-torches of a thousand fans simply glittered and was arguably the highlight of the evening.

An extended interval allowed a change of outfit to gold with feather boa, for a vigorous “Hey Big Spender.” The pace slowed as projections celebrated Cilla Black with a trade mark for both artists, “Anyone Who Had a Heart.”

Well within her comfort zone, a quick swig of “water” powered “Piece of My Heart.” A true “Sheridan” bit of slapstick with an adjustable stool, Spanx and a “Cupid Stunt” moment finally got her settled to deliver “Talking in your Sleep,” making the audience wonder if there had been a substitution during the kerfuffle. Not true – just versatility.

An unsophisticated “My Man,” then back to Smith family territory with a Country and Western pink-with-blue-fringes jacket and a “9 to 5” getting half the hall up and dancing.

A moving tribute to her family and her loyal audience “This is Me” was the truth, her voice cracking with emotion. Underlining it, “And I am Telling You” followed with a tender and quite moving passion.

The show ended with a promise “I Will Survive.” Let’s hope she does.

Sheridan Smith doesn’t yet have a deep “song book” of her own, and it was a bit of a pity that this concert was shorter than one might expect and also didn’t contain anything else from her stage back-catalogue. At times, the Albert Hall seemed too large for her, but she worked hard to reach out and eventually triumphed by dint of pure hard work.

The fighting she does to continue through life is pretty evident, even on-stage her personalities are multiple and conflicting; her impressive backing band and three vocalists sometimes helping her stay focussed enough to deliver. When she does, she really does, and I hope that in a few years another show will prove that this was merely the start of her live solo career.

Meanwhile, I think many will join me in saying, “I was proud to say that I was there,” and hope equally that it will be always for the best of reasons.

 

4 stars.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: