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‘Country music’s loss is certainly musical theatre’s gain’: AN EVENING WITH DAVID BEDELLA – Crazy Coqs (Online review) ★★★★

It’s been almost 15 years since David Bedella performed his first solo concert and since then his career has gone from strength to strength. After starring in Jerry Springer – The Opera, Bedella went on to perform in musicals such as In The Heights, The Rocky Horror Show, Sweeney Todd and The Producers, and of course & Juliet, for which he won his third Olivier last year. And now he has reunited with music director Steve Clark to perform An Evening with David Bedella, which was streamed live from London’s Crazy Coqs.

The evening kicked off with ‘I Can See It’ before Bedella went on to perform a broad range of tunes, proving there’s nothing he can’t sing. Accompanied by Clark on piano he sang songs from musical theatre and his own album, along with some personal favourites.

Dressed in a grey suit and sporting a new haircut courtesy of his own hands, Bedella oozed charm and was a joy to watch. It must be strange to perform a show with no audience but thankfully in the breaks between songs there was plenty of conversation between Bedella and Clark and their friendship was evident to see. The pair conversed naturally throughout the show, discussing everything from how they met (through panto), the likes of lockdown, dental work and even Bedella’s brush with a country music career.

Clark’s microphone failed him at times, meaning parts of the duo’s conversation were inaudible at first, but the stories told that we were able to hear were incredibly interesting. Of course current affairs were also on the agenda, and mention was made of the lack of government funding for those in the theatre industry, before Bedella went on to perform the brilliant ‘There’s Gotta Be Something Better Than This’ from Sweet Charity, a particularly topical inclusion following talk of retraining and learning new skills.

Though perhaps unexpected, it certainly was an inspired setlist and there were some great covers on the menu, including a tribute to Bowie with ‘Life On Mars?’, an ode to Johnny Mathis with ‘One Day In Your Life’ (also covered by Michael Jackson) and a cover of Trisha Yearwood’s ‘Down On My Knees’, highlighting Bedella’s love of country music.

Throughout the hour-long show there was a perfect combination of up-tempo songs and ballads, showcasing Bedella’s sheer talent. There was a lovely tribute to Jerry Herman with a rendition of ‘Song On The Sand/I Won’t Send Roses’, not to mention a beautiful rendition of Billy Joel’s ‘New York State of Mind’. The evening was brought to a sobering conclusion with a performance of his late parents’ favourite hymn ‘Let There Be Peace On Earth’. While it may not have been a conventional choice it was certainly a relevant and poignant one given the recent events in America.

The intimate setting of the Crazy Coqs really came across in the livestream and it felt as though you were in the same room watching an incredibly impressive show. Bedella made each song his own, and seemed to be having a great time up on stage. This was an evening full of fun with a great choice of songs and a slick performance, with Bedella showing just why he is such a worthy award winner. Country music’s loss is certainly musical theatre’s gain.

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from News, Reviews and Features – My Theatre Mates

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