Beyond The Barricade, Norwich Theatre Royal review: ‘Passionate performances of West End hits’

Beyond The Barricade is celebrating 20 years of performances. Photo: Courtesy of Norwich Theatre Roy

Beyond The Barricade is celebrating 20 years of performances. Photo: Courtesy of Norwich Theatre Royal - Credit: Courtesy of Norwich Theatre Royal

'The UK's favourite' musical theatre concert tour was warmly received when it returned to Norwich for its 20th anniversary.

Musical theatre divides people.

The mention of a show tune singalong rarely gets a lukewarm reception - people either love a bit of Broadway or they hate it.

The audience of Beyond The Barricade, a live concert which aims to deliver authentic renditions of a catalogue of West End and Broadway hits, were unsurprisingly firmly in the first camp.

When David Fawcett, who is as good at making the audience laugh as he is at captivating them with his soaring vocals, asked the crowd to give a cheer if they had seen the show before during one of its many visits to Norwich, it became clear that the tour had won over a fanbase years ago.

However, while the concept of the show may be 20 years old, the set list is right up to date as the audience were treated to Poppy Tierney's charming performance of Journey To The Past from Broadway musical Anastasia, which is yet to come to the UK.

Andy Reiss, who began Beyond The Barricade with David Fawcett two decades ago, exuded great enthusiasm for the material.

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His passionate performance of Jesus Christ Superstar's Gethsemane was the most impressive of the evening - both vocally and in terms of delivering the acting required to make the songs have anything near the impact they would in the context of a full stage show.

Since the cast of Beyond The Barricade, completed by the clear and commanding vocals of Katie Leeming, all have experience as Les Miserables principles it is only natural that a Les Mis medley forms the rousing grand finale of the show.

When caught up in the compelling communal energy of the musical's heavy hitters it's easy to understand why many viewers of BBC's recent adaptation of Victor Hugo's masterpiece were left disappointed when they realised it would be sans singing.