I will be brief, for the simple reason that I wasn’t on the reviewing circuit when seeing Matt Henry MBE perform a concert at The Crazy Coqs. But I thought it worthy of mention as it was such a lovely experience. On the billing was Debbie Kurup, who I last saw in the West End transfer of the Old Vic production of Girl From The North Country. Not on the billing was Luke Evans, these days known for his film career: such is his Hollywood success that I forgot he started out in musical theatre, and it was interesting to hear from both Evans and Henry about the days when they were both understudies in the West End run of Avenue Q. Henry included ‘Schadenfreude’ from that show in his concert, notorious for the lines, “Being on an elevator when somebody shouts, ‘Hold the door!’ / ‘No!’ Schadenfreude! / ‘Fuck you lady, that’s what stairs are for.’”
I wasn’t, alas, familiar with Kurup’s solo offerings, though they were delivered with considerable passion, with her vocals in fine form. As one would expect from a ‘cabaret’ show, there was some conversation as well as plenty of singing: my personal preference is where the music does the talking. I will make an exception here, as Henry’s easy-going and mild-mannered style when telling anecdotes and key moments in his career to date juxtaposed well with a powerhouse singing voice. He opted for ‘Not My Father’s Son’ from Kinky Boots, which he was in for two years, rather than ‘Hold Me In Your Heart’. But hey, it’s his show, his choice.
It’s the sort of show that had me at ‘hello’, with the opening number being an alternative take on ‘As If We Never Said Goodbye’, sung without the usual ‘look at me, I’m Norma Desmond, I have delusions of grandeur’ delivery. He was a contestant on BBC Television’s ‘The Voice’ and reprised some songs from that competition. Overall, a hugely pleasant gig, and if Henry does another set of concerts in the future, I would highly recommend going along. Told you I’d be brief.
London lad, loving life and all that it has to offer.