6th November 2023
By Hannah Goldswain
As lively and as bold as the musicals they choose their songs from, Bigger than Broadway take centre stage at Liverpool’s Theatre Festival, delivering a plethora of well-loved musical numbers from through the ages. The entourage of four rise to the challenge of some of the biggest vocal numbers from the stage shows and certainly don’t shy away from a tough song or two. In true glitzy Broadway fashion, Bigger than Broadway bring their own little slice of musical theatre to Liverpool’s St Luke’s Bombed-Out Church to an enthralled audience.
Treated to an introductory mash-up of several of the big hitters of Broadway musicals, Bigger than Broadway get the audience in the musical spirit bursting onto the stage with a West Side Story medley. Introduced are the equally as strong soloists and four-piece, Rebecca Casey, Andrew Geater, Michelle Almgill, and Jake Holroyd.
Television screens either side of the stage allow the audience a glimpse of recordings of the productions being showcased, with peppered narration of the songs upcoming giving the audience a bit more insight into the background of the songs. Without any props throughout the show, Bigger than Broadway leave it all down to their voices to command the stage alongside their impressively rapid outfit changes. Not to mention the lights that naturally go hand in hand with stage shows, creating an ambience that the performers compliment easily.
Entertaining, if minimal, dances accompany a few of the songs that lend themselves that way. Casey and Almgill revive All That Jazz from the musical Chicago, complete with flapper dresses and top hats, and whilst some of the timings are a little frayed at the edges their incredible vocals more than make up for it. Within that medley Casey is brilliant in her rendition of Cabaret from the musical of the same name, performing the touching song with emotion.
Reminding us of the classic 50s musical Guys and Dolls, Holroyd is charming and comic as he swaggers around the stage singing Luck Be A Lady. With impressive vocals and emotion, his chemistry is evident in Last Night of the World, of Miss Saigon, where alongside Casey, the two harmonise effortlessly in this powerful cover. Geater performs a magical One Night Only, from Dream Girls, and perhaps a strange choice of Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s King of My Heart. Decorated in a different gaudy blazer for each song, Geater is compelling, warm and likeable and the audience get on board with his theatricality and every single blazer he brings to the stage.
True to Broadway shows the technical microphone difficulties did not deter Casey and Almgill. Swapping microphones, the duo refused to let their Wicked medley be interrupted, even if a few of the lyrics were awry. Saving the longest-running musical until last, each of the singers shone as they gave it their all through Empty Chairs at Empty Tables, Bring Him Home, I Dreamed a Dream, At the End of the Day and to finish the fantastic One Day More. A superb ending with a fantastic harmony, Bigger than Broadway really did bring the magic of the musicals to the heart of Liverpool.