Kerry Ellis ‘Dreamed a Dream’ and it came true when she hit the West End stage and now another aspiration comes true as she becomes yet another West End favourite to star in a week long show running at the very intimate Matcham Room at the Hippodrome Casino Leicester Square London.
Although the smoke and the cigarette girls have gone thanks to health and safety regulations, the art of cabaret has returned to at least one London casino in a brave and admirable move that brings top talent to the smallest of venues.
It takes a brave artist to expose themselves to such a trial by fire but as seasoned performers take to this stage, from October 1st to the 6th, the Hippodrome Casino stage is home to Kerry Ellis, star of the West End and Broadway.
Having seen Kerry Ellis rock it up with Brian May at a sell out show in Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall and bring the Victoria Apollo to its knees on her final night in Wicked The Musical, it felt strangely unbelievable that in moments Kerry Ellis would appear on stage and begin a whole new set, suited for the Hippodrome’s intimate setting.
Choosing a strange mix of musicals and pop, Kerry recounted how Wicked The Musical had changed her life for the better, how she had recently been part of the Les Miserables movie as an extra and spent the day on set drinking tea and eating biscuits along with a number of other stories to break up the set so the drinks could flow as staff respectfully waited for songs to end before ensuring that the audiences needs were met.
However the magic wasn’t in the stories it was in the songs. A Haunting and hair raising rendition of I Dreamed a Dream and Defying Gravity left the audience captivated, transfixed on the stage as Kerry Ellis knocked each number out of the park. These two show stopping numbers were just additions to a handpicked set list which featured tailor made versions of ‘Street where you live’, ‘Losing My Mind’ and ‘Who Will Buy’. All songs the avid musical fan will know.
To add to this classic mix of show tune glory, the lovely Kerry Ellis burst into pop hits from the likes of Katy Perry and Lady Gaga to top the night off. These were not exact covers but covers that were arranged to fit in with the cabaret style that the Hippodrome Casino are trying so hard to resurrect in the heart of London.
These new arrangements of old and new fit Kerry so well and although the 75 minute set didn’t seem enough, the show was an affordable and entertaining night out, worth every penny.
The only criticism I have of the night, is the fact that Kerry invited another group on stage and although they were remarkable, Kerry Ellis was the top billed act and as a fan, anything that cut into her time was an obstacle to be crushed.
I just wish that this remarkable group of ladies had had their time before Kerry had come on stage to begin her set and that we as an audience were treated to that rather than a segway during the gig which seemed more like a pre-planned fag break for the main act.
It sounds a little bitchy I know but billed talent is billed talent and you don’t want to feel cheated as a punter whose laid down hard cash to see the person on the posters outside. I loved them but the time flew and the night ended too soon. Which felt like the group had eaten into 2 or 3 more songs from Kerry... it probably didn't and looking back? Who cares, Kerry was great, the group in question were great and they added something to the mix which I wouldn't have known to look out for had Kerry not brought them along for the ride.
From Rolling in the Deep right through to West End smash hits and chart topping successes Kerry Ellis is every bit the leading lady the Hippodrome Casino needs to fill its seats. If only they advertised a little more widely than their ‘shop window’.
Cabaret in London has been missed and with a few kinks almost ironed out it could truly become a success. The Hippodrome Casino may not be a venue you’d consider going to see a show but by god the service is excellent, the staff is welcoming and the venue is everything a fan could wish for.
With great stars of Broadway, the west end and the charts still set to play the Autumn schedule, The Hippodrome Casino is the place to be for a good night out!
Kerry Ellis plays at The Hippodrome Casino up until October the 6th. After that Broadway sensation Judy Kuhn will take over the stage from October 8th through to October 13th!
I’m hoping that someone at The Hippodrome will get in touch with Melanie C to do a special ‘Stages’ gig and of course following on from that the likes of Petula Clark, Betty Buckley and Lea Salonga could all find a home in the Matcham Room at The Hippodrome Casino in the future!
Oh and while I’m making requests how about some limited edition “Live From the Hippodrome” EP’s from the artists who play there. I’d certainly pick up some of those!
Look out for Kerry Ellis On The Edge, the one woman show!