Forever in Blue Jeans – Millfield Theatre, Edmonton

Reviewed by Helen and Garry McWilliams

Are you looking for a feel-good night out where you can sing and clap along with a variety of musical numbers from the 50s, 60s and 70s? Then look no further, ‘Forever in Blue Jeans’ truly has ‘it all’ including the magical tones of Carole Newman who performs as Karen Carpenter in the ‘gang’s’ other touring show ‘Voice of the Heart’.

Rachel Cantrill, Jamie Steen, Alister Wilmott and of course, Carole Newman are the central vocalists who each have an opportunity to show-case their vocal talents, together with simple and effective choreography. The show is a fast-paced, high-energy journey through some of the best years of music history with an excellent mixture of ballads, foot-tapping songs and popular hits.
The live band consisted of most of the same members as for ‘Voice of the Heart’, Bob Newman on bass guitar, Andy Saphir on electric guitar, John Blackburn on drums and Mat Newton on piano/synths. They are all of an exceedingly high standard and equally capable of demonstrating strong vocals.

Highlights of the evening included ‘Come Outside’ performed by Rachel Cantrill and Jamie Steen – the former in particular impersonating Wendy Richards superbly. One of Cantrill’s solos later in the show ‘Anyone Who Had a Heart’ was also exceptional and she appears to have the ability to lend her vocal range to many genres. Steen and Wilmott are both ‘all round’ entertainers whose facial expressions had the audience members rolling in the aisles during the ‘Abba’ numbers, they complimented the girls fantastically and were each individually outstanding, especially during their solos. We must also mention Carole Newman’s version of ‘Crazy’ and her husband Bob’s rendition of title track ‘Forever in Blue Jeans’ – simply amazing vocals from them both.

A country and western selection opened act two in a lively manner, also notable were the Burt Bacharach medley and the Carpenters songs (which Carole sings so naturally). Having interviewed Rachel Cantrill in May of this year https://breakalegreviewblog.wordpress.com/2013/05/26/interview-with-rachel-dean/ , we had been made aware of the fact that ‘Forever in Blue Jeans’ was produced first and it was the uncanny resemblance that Carole’s voice pays to Karen Carpenter that raised the suggestion for a Carpenters show. Although we have watched the shows in a different order, it is easy to see why audience members had felt that this was such a good idea.

Although both ‘Forever in Blue Jeans’ and ‘Voice of the Heart’ have finished until 2014, there will be forthcoming dates listed very soon so please visit http://www.foreverinbluejeans.uk.com and http://www.voiceoftheheart.co.uk for more information.

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