Arriving at the St James Theatre and noting the demographic of people, it is quickly realised that we were in for a stagey night! The St James Theatre is one of the larger fringe venues the Off-West End scene has to offer, with a very successful list of past shows including: Putting It Together, The Great British Musical and, of course, Urinetown.
Scott Alan is primarily an American composer as well as a singer/songwriter. After selling out all three ‘Home Again’ concerts with Cynthia Erivo (three special concerts as part of the London Cabaret Festival) Scott Alan decided to add another concert, which was tonight’s, which also sold out. Alan is known for his musical theatre style of writing, combined with his heavily emotive song content. This evenings concert played host to nineteen special guests ranging from Scott’s close friends to West End stars, X Factor contestants, TV Stars and personal choices of Scott’s from YouTube, one aspect that made tonight so special was that there was new talent emerging through Scott’s work.
First to the stage – as expected, was Cynthia Erivo, delivering a gorgeously emotive rendition of ‘I’m Coming Home To You’. Following Erivo was Oliver Tompsett who performed an easy listen of ‘Darlin’ (Without You)’. Madalena Alberto gave a captivating version of ‘Blessing’, a beautifully written song and Anna Jane Casey sang ‘And There Is It’, highlighting the poignancy of the song in her performance. Then the audience had the delight of listening to Sophie Evans’ sweet tones whilst singing ‘Look (A rainbow)’. Shortly after was new talent, David Albury who showcased a new arrangement of Scott’s classic, ‘Never Neverland (Fly Away)’. Contraire to Albury a medley of the songs ‘Always’ and ‘Goodnight’ were sung so mesmerisingly by the West Ends Christine and her understudy, Harriet Jones and Emmi Christensson. Receiving one of the largest applauses of the night was Miss Saigon star, Eva Noblezada singing ‘Home’, beautifully. Closing Act One was Scott himself singing Sail a song very important to him.
Opening Act Two was X Factor star Craig Colton with Bodyguard tour actress Zoe Birkett performing a rifftastic rendition of ‘The Journey’. Following these two well known names was one of Scott’s secret new talents, Nicole Henderson; showing through her insane belting that just because she is undiscovered does not mean she is not deserving of being on the stage. From an undiscovered artist to a very famous musical theatre performer, Lucie Jones delivered a crowd pleasing cover of ‘Watch Me Soar’ and Carley Stenson sang ‘Take Me Away’ in a simplistic and captivating way. Due to a performer dropping out, Scott found Niall O’Halloran on YouTube who flew over from Ireland to perform one of Scott’s first songs, ‘Kiss The Air’, delivering the song with ease and such gorgeous interpretation.
Following an unknown artist we return to a close friend of Scott’s, Katie Paine, performing a very sentimental cover of ‘I Remember’. East Enders star Danny-Boy Hatchard gave an extremely emotional rendition of ‘Now’. Oliver Savile received one of the largest receptions of the night – and rightly so – because of his phenomenal cover of ‘Again’, sung brilliantly aided by his great acting choices. Cynthia Erivo then returned to the stage to perform a song Scott wrote for her to try and encapsulate how she feels about leaving her family behind to move to America in the near future. Judging by Cynthia’s teary reaction at the end of ‘At All’, Scott wrote it perfectly. The biggest surprise of the night had to be Sam Bailey, recent X Factor winner who performed ‘Anything Worth Holding Onto’, which is normally Erivo’s song, however Bailey did it just as much justice with her own interpretation.
Scott then closed the show himself, singing ‘Why Would I give Up Now’, which was a moving song just on its own. However, throughout the evening Scott interjected his songs with anecdotes of his life of how the songs came about and after hearing the anecdote for this last song the song just made so much more sense. Resulting in it being so much more accessible for the audience as shown by their reaction of the majority of them being in tears. Scott’s openness to the audience about his life and his creative processes has to commended because there are very few artists out there who do that as well as it allows the audience into his life and brings the artists works closer to the audience.
Standout artists from this evening’s performance have to be Madalena Alberto, Nicole Henderson Oliver Savile and Cynthia Erivo all because of their gorgeous vocals and exquisite acting.
Reviewed by Thomas Yates