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Review: Eden Espinosa at the Hippodrome Casino

Heartfelt, honest and full of warmth, Eden Espinosa’s star shines bright in London cabaret debut.

The stage career of Eden Espinosa would leave many actors green with envy. And a fairly lurid shade of green at that… Making her Broadway debut in 2003 as part of the original cast of a small off-beat musical called Wicked (you may have heard of it?) she found fame when she stepped into the shoes of that show’s leading lady, a certain Idina Menzel. Clearly a lady with a penchant for bright face paint, Ms Espinosa subsequently went on to play the role of Elphaba on several US tours as well as returning to the Broadway production on multiple occasions.

On Wednesday evening of this week, fresh from an intense run of new rock musical Lizzie at Greenwich Theatre, Ms Espinosa took to the intimate stage of The Hippodrome in Leicester Square for her first ever solo concert in London.

With an assuredly quirky and self-deprecating charm, our host wasn’t heavy on anecdotes or long-winded repartee, instead opting to let her music choices speak for themselves. Offering a beguiling mix of what could best be described as Country/Musical Theatre/Indie fusion (hard to imagine, but lovely to listen to), and accompanied by a small but beautifully-formed band headed up by MD Marc McBride, Ms Espinosa showed off every side of her impressive vocal ability.

In an evening punctuated by guest singers, including Willemijn Verkaik (currently playing Elphaba in the West End cast of Wicked) and Victoria Hamilton-Barritt (The Wild Party, In The Heights) Ms Espinosa delivered an entertaining and varied selection of songs, ending the night with a particularly moving and honest encore sung in honour of an old friend.

Overall, a lovely way to spend a Wednesday evening, and hopefully not the last London engagement for this charming Broadway star.

GT gives Eden Espinosa at the Hippodrome Casino — 4/5


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