Julie Atherton at Apollo Theatre

Tonight I attended Julie Atherton’s biggest solo concert to date at London’s Apollo Theatre. As a long time fan of Julie’s, I already knew we were in for a treat – not least because of the “song vote” a few days before that had ended in ‘Taylor The Latte Boy’ being voted for her to sing at the concert.

Julie opened the show with a beautiful version of “Weak” and followed it up with her well known album track “Blind.” Both tracks are from her most recent album ‘No Space For Air’, which I am a proud owner of and recommend that everyone should have a copy of! One thing I love about Julie is that she is that rare breed of recording artist that actually sounds better live than they do on their recording.

Then came the much awaited “Taylor The Latte Boy”, which did not disappoint. This was easily the best live version of the much loved musical theatre track I have heard and Julie’s excellent comedic timing just made it that much more enjoyable to watch,. (There was also a little bit of a follow spot fail during the song to which Julie responded with “alright?” Hilarious) It takes not only a great singer but a strong actress to captivate the audience in the way Julie did during this song, and that was definitely refreshing to see and hear.

Throughout the show Julie was joined by several special guests. The first of these guests was the fantastic Daniel Boys, with whom she sang a duet from Ordinary Days, which both of them recently performed in at the Trafalgar Studios. Later in the show she was joined by Jon Lee, who sang a heartfelt version of Adele’s “Make You Feel My Love” followed by a duet of “The Next Ten Minutes” from Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years. On the subject of Jason Robert Brown, Julie’s story of how she sent a recording of her version of “Someone To Fall Back On” to the composer and it provoked a response that could have either been construed as very sarcastic or extremely flattering, had the audience in hysterics. We were then treated to Julie’s rendition of the song.

To end the first half, Michael Bruce came on stage to play “Portrait of a Princess”, the song that helped create the youtube viral of the same name. I worried that the song wouldn’t be as fun without the video, but really I shouldn’t have worried. Again, Julie’s comedic timing and vocal talent made the song a pleasure to hear live. What made me laugh was that one or two people around me hadn’t seen the youtube viral! Click Here to see the video if you somehow managed to miss out.

The second half opened with “Anywhere But Here”, shortly followed by “Lost In Translations.” Both of these are album tracks, but hearing Lost In Translations sung live was absolutely heartbreaking. The final special guest for the night was Richard Fleeshman, who sang “Ordinary People” followed by a very special duet and an unexpected guest. I have to admit, as soon as I heard the opening chords of “The Last Night of The World” (From Miss Saigon for anyone not on this planet) I was flailing. But then when none other than Kate Monster appeared on the stage to sing with Richard I was almost inconsolable. Sadly, Kate was cruelly dumped at the end of the song, so we were treated to “A Fine, Fine Line” from Avenue Q. I adored Julie in Avenue Q so this was a welcome treat.

A few more album tracks later, it was time for the final bows and of course an encore. The song of choice? “The Last Day On Earth” by Lance Horne. As Lance Horne is probably my favourite American Composer at present, I am very familiar with this song but am used to the sound of Hannah Waddingham singing it and until tonight would not have imagined anyone else doing it justice. After tonight I won’t be able to imagine anyone other than Hannah Waddingham… or Julie Atherton singing it. Julie smashed a difficult song that is completely heartbreaking and left the audience silent and then on their feet. I also loved that Lance made an appearance to play for the song.

Highlights? Definitely Taylor The Latte Boy and Lost in Translations. I also enjoyed finally hearing “A Girl of Few Words” live after hearing about twelve seconds of the song made me buy Julie’s first album around three years ago. I also enjoyed hearing the song Julie sang from a new musical by Dougal Irvine – A Busker’s Opera.

A very enjoyable night at the theatre and another success for Julie Atherton as well as all at Speckulation Entertainment. The show just proved why Julie is one of the West End’s leading ladies and can comfortably hold an audience with not only her vocal talent, but with funny anecdotes and guest appearances. The music to which she lends her vocals is a diverse mix of classic musical theatre, some mainstream sounds as well as everything in between. I look forward to the next one and to seeing Julie in the Sister Act Tour later in the year!

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