The Other Palace Studio has had a decidedly festive makeover for its latest residency, a towering Christmas tree and roaring log fire (even if it is a projection) sets the scene for The Barricade Boys Christmas Cabaret, which runs at the venue until December 23rd.
The Barricade Boys have a had a busy, and successful couple of years. The group is comprised of former cast members of that bastion of musical theatre, Les Misérables, so you know that from a vocal standpoint, you are going to be hearing the best. Current members Scott Garnham, Simon Schofield, Kieran Brown and Craig Mather have voices to match their jackets – pure velvet, and it’s easy to get carried away in the swell of yuletide merriment.
The group have played all over the world, from Broadway theatres to cruise ships, and their particular brand of entertainment is proving extremely popular. More used to these large venues and a full band, this stripped back version at The Other Palace feels far more intimate, and therefore very special indeed.
Craig Mather does give us an impressive turn on the guitar, but otherwise the boys are accompanied only by their Musical Director, Noam Galperin. The whole set up makes it feel more like a family gathering round the piano, and the audience were definitely appreciative of this more intimate set up. Throughout their run The Barricade Boys will be joined by special guests, tonight it was Prince of Broadway himself, Michael Xavier, who gave us a truly beautiful rendition of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”
There’s a lovely mix of songs; as expected there are a few trademark Les Mis numbers in there, and being a Christmas Cabaret, a good few festive favourites as well, but the boys also treat us to some Jerry Lee Lewis, and even Bon Jovi. At times the audience are encouraged to join in, and everyone was clearly enjoying the laid-back concert.
No-one more so than The Barricade Boys themselves, it’s very clear that they have a great relationship and that comes across strongly in their performance. The four of them were completely natural, laughing and joking with each other, the intense world of the barricade couldn’t seem further away, as the group brought smiles and laughter to everyone in the room.
The Barricade Boys Christmas Cabaret is a real treat, world class singing presented in a fantastically informal and friendly setting. The audience were loving every moment of it, because they were allowed to feel part of it. The Barricade Boys have succeeded in creating a family Christmas in a theatre studio, all that’s missing is Grandma and some mince pies, but this show is so welcoming you could probably bring your own.