Newcastle Theatre Royal
Elaine Paige has been in show business for such a long time, yet paradoxically she is the sort of star one never really believes one will ever have the opportunity to see in concert. So I was pleased indeed to be able to see her on her 40th Anniversary Tour.
The Theatre Royal is a great venue. I was fortunate to obtain tickets; the show was quickly sold out and only a couple in the Gallery were left. The Gallery is advertised as ‘restricted view’ but that was a misnomer; the view was actually very good.
The seven-piece band started the show with an overture for the first half and this built up nicely to herald the entrance of the star.
As Elaine Paige was celebrating an incredible 40 years in the business, she was able to present her favourite songs from a terrific and timeless repertoire, selected from numerous famous shows. Anecdotes interspersed the songs, but never intrusively so. The funniest one concerned her untimely attack of cramp, mid-curtsey, as she was being presented to the Queen Mother.
The show was in two parts and there were a couple of costume changes around the midpoint of each half. ‘Don’t Cry For Me Argentina’ brought the first half to a very satisfactory conclusion.
We were treated to the finest efforts from 'Peron' to 'Piaf', from ‘Hair’ to ‘Cats', from ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ to ‘Sunset Boulevard’.
The appreciative audience was treated to two encores - one of which was ‘Memory’, as one would expect - capping a very fine evening’s entertainment.
Seeing a true star - with a fantastic amount of experience - is bound to bring about comparisons with the ‘made on TV’ stars(?) of today. The conclusions should be fairly obvious. The evidence will be there for all to see over the decades. We’ll see for ourselves how many of the plastic people will ever be able to sing with such power, range, elegance and grace.
Meanwhile, if you get the chance to see Elaine Paige remember to book early and then prepare yourself for a wonderful evening.