Cabaret Festival Review: Ruthie Henshall – Live and Intimate

When Ruthie Henshall takes the stage, you sit up and take notice. This multi award nominated artist has been playing the music theatre game since 1986 and that means she’s been strutting her stuff for over thirty years

By
Overall
5

Presented by Adelaide Festival Centre. An Enda Markey Production
Reviewed 21 June 2019

When Ruthie Henshall takes the stage, you sit up and take notice. This multi award nominated artist has been playing the music theatre game since 1986 and that means she’s been strutting her stuff for over thirty years and you know what? She’s still got it in spades and she doesn’t look a day over thirty. That’s what loving your job does for you! And Ruthie Henshall loves her job.

Dressed in black pants with a mermaid silk trim, black bolero jacket and a mirror ball top, she took the audience in The Famous Spiegeltent by storm and didn’t let them off the hook until she quietly seduced them into submission with her encore number, In My Life by the Beatles, after a spontaneous standing ovation from her crowd of adoring fans. As the gentleman next to me said as we were leaving the venue that was still buzzing from the show “That was a real class act.”

Henshall is a real star of Music Theatre and she has played some great roles during her long and prestigious career. Her West End debut in Cats was a prelude to a career that saw her progress through the ranks until she appeared as Fantine in Les Miserables which led to starring roles in Crazy for You, She Loves Me, Oliver, Billy Elliot and Chicago to name a few. She has graced the stage in the West End and on Broadway, and she has worked with some of the finest names in showbiz. Now that takes guts and talent – and she’s still going strong. I could go on for a long time with the list of West End and Broadway shows or her numerous concerts and TV appearances, but it would be a very long review.

Henshall is a joy to watch, her attitude to her work impeccable, great emotional range coupled with some joyful, some deeply emotionally driven and endearing character work. She’s a natural storyteller which makes the bits between the songs as disarming and captivating as the rest of this thoughtfully crafted cabaret show. She sings a range of songs from Kander and Ebb to Sondheim, Victoria Wood to the Beatles and in between takes us on a journey through her life and shows which is original, funny and sometimes intensely moving.

Mention must be made of Ruthie Henshall’s band. In true Henshall style she introduced Paul Schofield on the piano as her ‘band’. This man is truly a band; a sensitive, accompanist and a polished and brilliant pianist. Never let that one go.

Thankyou Ruthie Henshall, I was reminded how much I love music theatre in the hands of a consummate professional. Keep giving them the old razzle dazzle.

Reviewed by Adrian Barnes

Rating out of 5: 5 Stylish and Sassy

Venue: The Famous Spiegeltent
Season: Friday 21st June 6.00pm, Sat 22nd June 7.30pm
Duration: 1 hour 10 minutes

Tickets: A Reserve Adult 69.90, Conc $64.90 A one off service and handling fee of $8.95 applies per transaction
Bookings:  https://www.adelaidecabaretfestival.com.au/events/ruthie-henshall-live-intimate/

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