REVIEW: Beyond the Barricade celebrate 15 years in spectacular style

Beyond the Barricade at The Hawth, January 29, 2014
Beyond the Barricade at The Hawth, January 29, 2014

For a show which is essentially four people in nice clothes singing songs from the musicals you maybe surprised it has lasted an incredible 15 years (almost as long as Westlife).

But if you have seen Beyond the Barricade (and I have five times now), you will know why it has lasted that long and is still going strong.

David Fawcett performing Bring Him Home

David Fawcett performing Bring Him Home

It is purely down to the quality of the singing that keeps the audience captivated for two and a half hours a night, for 80-100 nights a year.

The show is made up of four singers - David Fawcett, who (mostly!) keeps the show on track and introduces each section, Andy Reiss, who puts the show together and plays keyboard, Rebecca Vere and Katie Leeming - and they don’t just have impeccable voices in common, they have all played principals in Les Miserables.

And it’s the Les Miserable section which is the showstopper at the end, but more of that later.

The first half, and the first part of the second half, is a celebration of musicals ranging form the old classics (Carousel) and Andrew Lloyd Webber (Phantom and Evita) to the modern wave of Jukebox musicals (Jersey Boys, We Will Rock You).

Each singer gets to showcase their vocal talents - Rebecca shows she would make a wonderful Glinda during the Wicked section while Katie’s version of ‘Tell Me It’s Not True’ shows she would make a perfect Mrs Johnston (sorry the Nolans!).

David’s ‘Anthem’ from Chess is superb and Andy’s ‘This is The Moment’ from Jekyll and Hyde is stunning. But as good as the solos are, the show really comes alive when all four are on stage singing songs which are meant for a much bigger ensemble.

‘Masquerade’ (Phantom), ‘The Heat is on in Saigon’ (Miss Saigon) and ‘Tonight’ (West Side Story) are all sensationally done.

The best duet of the night for me was Rebecca and David doing ‘Song That Goes Like This’ from Spamalot. A brilliant and hilarious song performed perfectly.

The quartet always finish the show with a Les Miserable section and you get what you expect from this quality line-up. From Rebecca’s ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ and Katie’s ‘On My Own’ to David’s ‘Bring Him Home’ and Andy’s ‘Stars’, there is not a wrong note.

But the pièce de résistance is ‘One Day More’ - a song which is normally performed by eight principals, a 25 ensemble and a 40 piece orchestra. Beyond the Barricade has four singers and four musicians - it is simply an astonishing and spectacular performance.

If there is a criticism, I could have done without Evita, but that is just personal taste.

They have been performing for 15 years now, and on this performance, there’s no reason why Beyond the Barricade couldn’t go on for 15 more.