Review: Patti LuPone featuring Seth Rudetsky
Patti delivers a faultless evening of entertainment...
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To say I enjoyed myself last night at the Leicester Square theatre would be a severe understatement. Everybody in that intimate and rather comfy venue was having a gay old time.... In the old fashioned sense of the word, although there were plenty of floral shirts and shiny shoes to spare too!
Patti Lupone has finally zoomed back across the Atlantic with Musical Director Seth Rudetsky in tow and is proving to London once more what makes her one of the most entertaining and sought after performers on the stage. Known for her big brassy belt and mesmerising stage presence, this humble, relaxed show really gives you a chance to hear that recognisable voice, and to see a side of Patti many people might not know. The warmth, honesty and sense of joy and passion for what she does oozes over the audience. Even the tougher moments in her career, usually surrounding a Lloyd Webber show, are dealt with and gives you an intriguing insight into her life and career.
The format of the evening is a chat show interspersed with musical numbers chosen seemingly by random, depending on where the conversation takes them, meaning each show will vary.... And I'm tempted to go back to see and hear more.
The song choices on this occasion were surefire audience pleasers with everything from Funny Girl, Gypsy, Oliver!, plenty of Evita, and more thrown into mix. Even a bit of the little known (but personal favourite) Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown was given as a final encore, after no less than three standing ovations. There was a noticeable lack of Sunset Boulevard, which my date for the evening was unhappy about, but with the volatile history of the show and Patti's relationship with Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, which she discusses openly, is not surprising that she skipped over that.... Although go back another night and you never know, you might just hear some.
What is remarkable with Patti is that her voice seems to have gotten only stronger through the years. It still has that exciting, raw passion and tone to it, and she can still get the notes in the original keys with much ease; a skill many other leading ladies would be jealous of! Patti also has what I personally find mostly lacking on the West End stage: real star quality! And not because she's been in films, or Doctor Who, or Eastenders. This is a woman who's career and immense success is through theatre, and especially musical theatre. She is lauded for being a musical actress, not for being a 'star' who can sing, she has worked hard and given her soul to become one of the best, and that's what makes this evening truly special, seeing a real life musical theatre star show us how it's done!
As MC/MD for the evening Seth Rudetsky proves why he is so popular in New York. He's acerbic and ever-so-quick banter keeps the show on the light side. The relationship between our host and our star is one of mutual admiration and you feel like you're sat in their home while they chat and sing a song or two. But Mr Rudetsky's incredible wit is outweighed by the sheer talent and musical knowledge in his possession. Seth has his own show this coming Saturday, which he gave a taster of as a warm up, and I for one will be there to see him hilariously deconstruct some of the most brilliant performances and performers in history.
All in all this was a faultless evening that left the entire audience captivated, thoroughly entertained, and leaving the theatre on a definite Rainbow High.
GT gives this a: 5/5
Patti LuPone is at the Leicester Square Theatre until 23 June. Dial the box office on 08448 733433
or log on to the website to book.
Words: Christopher Clegg