Some Enchanted Evening review at Cadogan Hall, London – ‘gorgeous songs, gloriously sung’
Some Enchanted Evening makes for some enchanting evening, thanks to the polish and sheen of a quartet of thrilling star West End performers and a superb orchestra singing a few of my favourite things (not to mention My Favourite Things, the latter of course from the score to The Sound of Music, one of more than 900 songs composed by Richard Rodgers in a six-decade career).
This looks and feels like a standard-issue revue, but when it is as classily performed as it is here, it becomes a luxurious wallow in Broadway at its greatest, a warm bath of melody that feels indulgent and exhilarating by turns.
Ruthie Henshall has been one of the West End’s leading ladies since the mid-1980s, and is this year celebrating her 30th anniversary in the business looking and sounding as fresh as ever. Her voice may have acquired a new smokiness over the years, but she’s a radiant presence who brings a swooning romanticism to songs such as Falling in Love With Love.
The tall, clean-cut Michael Xavier has an old-fashioned, leading-man allure, and a voice to match of pure silk that caresses a melody like This Can’t Be Love or Blue Moon with an utterly relaxed, unforced confidence.
Lesley Garrett’s shimmering operatic soprano is a no-nonsense instrument that gives full power to June Is Bustin’ Out All Over or Climb Ev’ry Mountain (both of which she has previously performed in the West End in revivals of Carousel and The Sound of Music respectively).
But the revelation is Gary Wilmot, whose Soliloquy from Carousel mines every last nuance of feeling from it. An ensemble of students from Arts Ed add well-drilled choreographic contributions and great singing of their own to complete a Grand Night for Singing (to quote the title of another song heard here).