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With Britain’s Got Talent back on our TV screens, we are frequently reminded of the talent we have in our country and none more so than 2014 winners Collabro, who are currently on the last leg of their fourth UK tour.
The musical theatre group’s loyal followers, aptly known as the Collaborators, were out in force at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall last night to enjoy their latest show, celebrating their Road to the Royal Albert Hall album.
Opening the show is a quirky Essex singer-songwriter and her jazz band, Georgia & The Vintage Youth. Her material dips into various genres including jazz, soul and ska. Georgia has an extraordinary voice and is clearly a huge talent, supported on this tour by a saxophonist and drummer. The only thing I would mention is her diction, which isn’t very legible at times due to the soulful tone of her voice. This said, her interpretation of ‘Favourite Things’ from The Sound of Music is crystal clear and leads perfectly onto the main act of the evening.
Collabro are accompanied by a four-piece band who welcome the performers to the stage following a toe-tapping overture. Their set list consists almost entirely of songs from the musical theatre genre, which is definitely where their biggest strength lies. They know their audience implicitly and even joke about singing something more upbeat after a string of slightly depressing ballads! When the opening notes of ‘Sweet Child Of Mine’ start playing, this is an intriguing surprise but it is soon cut short in jest.
Their harmonies are exquisite and each member has a different tone that complements the others when singing as a collective. Some of the choreography is perhaps a little ropey on occasion but they have so much fun on stage that it is actually very endearing. Their natural chemistry is evident from the outset, consistently making eye contact and occasionally inside jokes flicker between them.
I don’t actually recall going to a concert where there are so many standing ovations during the show. This is testament to their efforts, particularly reflected in numbers such as their iconic rendition of ‘Stars’ from Les Miserables and ‘Faithfully’ by Journey (also featuring the Solihull Pop Chorus). Their Jersey Boys medley at the end of Act One, although lacking power vocally in parts, is the perfect remedy to get people up out of their seats to dance.
Known as the “First Lady of the West End”, Kerry Ellis also joins Collabro on certain tour dates and she wows as always during her three numbers: ‘Anthem’ from Chess and ‘This Is Me’ and ‘A Million Dreams’ from The Greatest Showman. Personally, I feel ‘Never Enough’ would have been suited to her over the boys but they do deliver a beautiful arrangement.
Overall, Collabro deliver a carefully selected and brilliantly performed programme to delight musical theatre lovers everywhere.
Collabro’s Road to the Royal Albert Hall tour culminates at the iconic London venue on Saturday 20 April.
**** Four stars
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