Michael Ball celebrates 25 year career

~ Whats on Theatre by Sean James Cameron 06/10/09 ~

Celebrating a career spanning 25 years Michael Ball has been shaking his hips around the UK recently with his arena tour which guarantees any audience a spectacular night out.

The two hour concert is packed with Ball's hits from the past 25 years and we are taken on a rollercoaster of hits and show tunes that made Ball a household name. Opening with The Impossible Dream and moving onto the high impact tune of One Step Out of Time , Ball belts out his powerful voice to a packed arena audience. 

Joining him on stage he introduces us to the cream of West End musical theatre talent. During Don't Stop Me Now we meet Emma Williams, Louise Dearman, Louise Marshal, Ben James Ellis and Adrian Hansel. Taken from the musical Rent , the company performed Seasons of Love . I've heard this song performed many times and have always regarded it as rather a depressing tune. But here Ball and his guests breathe so much life and emotion into this Broadway hit that it would bring tears to even the most hardest of men.

Every singer is defined by a few popular hits and this show had them all. Some Enchanted Evening, Tell Me It's Not True and from the musical Les Miserables Empty Chairs at Empty Tables by which time Ball had the entire audience in the palm of his hand. For me, the highlight of the evening was Ball's performance of Gethsemane from Jesus Christ Superstar.

Performing as a guest singer with an artist like Ball makes it virtually impossible to break through and shine on stage but three performers managed to achieve this. Louise Marshall, Emma Williams and Adrian Hansel shone as brightly as Ball himself. Adrian Hansel, who appeared alongside Ball in the West End hit Hairspray (returning after this tour), delivers his performances with such a powerful and mature voice that it would have defied anyone not to be moved. His knowledge of how to use his voice to the best of its ability is clear to hear. Ball may have included Hansel as a guest but with such a soulful, smooth velvet vocal instrument, Hansel will quickly become Ball's successor.

After a rapturous ending and standing ovation Ball returns to the stage sporting a sequin tie to bring the show to its finale. His rendition of The Impossible Dream lifted the audience from their seats to the front of the stage like roses.

It may have been a cold October night but the audience left the arena on a natural high and with show tunes on their lips, remarking that “even after 25 years Michael can still belt out the perfect song”.

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