UKTW - 25 years online
CORONAVIRUS: All UK venues closed on 16th March 2020 but restrictions were lifted on 19th July 2021 with venues free to run shows to full capacity audiences after that though there are still issues with company members being forced to self-isolate on being 'pinged'. In September it is possible that a COVID vaccination certificate (or exemption) may be mandated for entry. Please note that iUKTDb archive listings between March 2020 and July 2021 may not be accurate as we did not receive details of all rescheduled and cancelled shows.

Starting Here, Starting Now

Seen at Waterloo East.
By Derek

Starting Here Starting Now - Photo credit: Gareth McCleod

They make a tentative start in “Starting Here, Starting Now”, but the stars grow in confidence as the 75 min show progresses. Maltby & Shire’s musical revue shows its vintage – as Gina Murray comments, it’s very middle class, with numerous wistful songs of regret. Selected from Matlby and Shire’s catalogue of songs from their various early musicals, each song is delicately crafted, showcasing the versatility and charisma of its performer. I was hungry for something vicious or ecstatic to add flavour to the evening.

The show features West End stars Nikki Bentley (Elphaba in ‘Wicked’), Gina Murray (Donna in Mamma Mia!’) and Noel Sullivan (Dewey Finn in ‘School of Rock’) each enjoying their return to performance after lockdown. The sound is not perfect in this small venue, but when the stars go for it, their quality shines through. Gina Murray impressed me with her wry delivery of Sunday Times Crossword. Nikki Bentley revels in the dejection of What About Today. Noel Sullivan brings flair to Flair and I Don’t remember Christmas, working hard to bring comedy to the sadness. MD Inga Davis-Rutter speeds the production along, handling the keyboard deftly and happy to be included in the make-believe. Their socially distanced choreography is precise, if a little unexciting. It is simply staged and costumed. They made me smile with the big glitter number towards the end: never be afraid to echo A Chorus Line.

One Step was probably my favourite number as the three performers take turns to shine. They work in pairs and as a trio, but they are undoubtedly best in their solo songs.

This is a small-scale show with a big heart, and well worth the trip to Waterloo East.

Derek Benfield

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