REVIEW: An A-Z of Musical Theatre, The Hawth, Crawley

Sam Hiller
Sam Hiller

The idea of putting on a show which is a compilation of songs from the musicals is not a new one.

In the last year I have seen Back to Broadway and Beyond the Barricade, so seeing another one full of the most famous songs of musical theatre made me think the genre could be saturated.

But An A-Z of Musical Theatre (The Hawth, Crawley, Sunday October 5) brought something new to the party. But even this show is not a new idea. Director (and star) Sam Hiller came up with the idea 15 years and has since raised more than £100,000 for different charities with these shows.

But this show is different. There’s no change of costumes or big dance routines. It’s simply 12 performers (all with impressive CVs and some who are currently performing in the West End) and a piano, sitting around and discussing what aspect of musical theatre could go with each letter of the alphabet.

So it’s not a case of going ‘A for Annie’, ‘B for Billy Elliot’ etc.

They refer to lyricists, composers, stars and shows.

The performers tell famous stories and give detailed histories of shows and stars.

Obviously there are songs but they are songs you may not hear in other compilations shows.

Instead of All That Jazz from Chicago, you get Mr Cellophane (brilliantly performed by Nigel Garton), and instead of Defying Gravity from Wicked, you get The Wizard and I (performed by Grace Gardner).

But don’t worry, you still get the crowd pleasers like Master of the House (Garton and Heather Jackson) and Stars (a great rendition from current Phantom star Tim Morgan) from Les Miserables, Any Dream Will Do from Joseph (sung by the impressive Antony Hansen) and Bui-Doi from Miss Saigon (also by Hansen) and Don’t Cry for Me Argentina from Evita (Lyndsey Gardiner).

Other highlights included Joanna Loxton’s great version of Whatever Happened to My Part? from the brilliant Spamalot and Nadeem Namaan and Garton doing Brush Up On Your Shakespeare from Kiss Me Kate.

It’s a wonderfully understated show which showcases the talents of some brilliant performers.

An A-Z of Musical Theatre is performing next at the Chequer Mead Theatre, East Grinstead, on Sunday 30th November (7pm).

Don’t miss out.