Entertaining, witty and welcoming – Seth Rudetsky and Ramin Karimloo present a wonderful night of music and anecdotes in the latest of Rudetsky’s “Broadway @ Leicester Square Theatre” series.
As a fan of Ramin Karimloo for a number of years, I was thrilled to learn that he would be joining the hilarious and equally talented Seth Rudetsky at Leicester Square Theatre, and despite my already high expectations, I was not disappointed. The essential theme of Seth’s series at Leicester Square Theatre involves Broadway actors singing songs that have significance to them and their careers as well as discussing their lives with Seth over the course of the concert. The night was very much “off the cuff” in Seth’s owns words, meaning that Seth and Ramin were able to switch between music and conversation as and when they pleased. This created a lovely relaxed environment for everyone to just enjoy the beauty of musical theatre and learn a bit more about Ramin’s life. It was so refreshing to learn more about Ramin as opposed to solely listen to him sing, as it felt like we were able to experience the concert on a different level than if it had just been singing alone.
As I predicted, Karimloo did not disappoint vocally at all. Performing numbers from some of his most well known roles, including Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables, his voice was effortless and smooth. It was almost impossible to believe that he, as he revealed during the course of the evening, had been in Africa in the early hours of that very morning. His energy and stage presence was natural yet strong and it felt like he was holding the reins throughout the concert, which was great to see.
Evidence of the unplanned element of the show could be seen in one of the most memorable moments of the show – when Ramin was reunited with cast members from his first London production of Pirates of Penzance in Regent’s Park. They decided to have Ramin sing “I am a Pirate King” in honour of the show, and all of his former cast mates agreed to sing backing for him from the audience. The uniqueness and rarity of this moment made it feel so special for the audience – and it gave everyone a good laugh hearing the men being reunited after so long!
One issue I did find was that due to the lack of planning, there were times when both Seth and Ramin were at a loss of whether to persue a conversation they were beginning to have, or whether to instead sing a song relevant to the topic they were discussing. It occasionally felt like some interesting stories or songs were being lost in the moment because of the lack of structure. However this was a minor problem as I was still kept thoroughly entertained throughout the evening.
Quite a lot of the stand out moments of the concert involved the addition of special guests who performed with both Karimloo and Rudetsky. It was incredibly entertaining having Ramin singing some of the most well known musical theatre songs with old friends and the unpredictability of the evening massively added to the excitement as an audience member.
It should be noted that someone attending who had previously no knowledge of who Ramin Karimloo is would most likely have found some conversations a little hard to grasp at first. As an audience, it was assumed that we have a fair amount of knowledge about Ramin and his career and therefore someone entering the concert without that information probably wouldn’t have got as much out of the experience. That being said, the likelihood that someone attending a concert of this nature wouldn’t be aware of the performers within it is quite unusual and thus I don’t think it is unreasonable for Rudetsky and Karimloo to believe that the audience were aware of who they both were.
Overall I really enjoyed my evening at Leicester Square Theatre. It was a unique atmosphere for a concert and was a huge amount of fun and I would massively recommend it to any fan of Ramin, Seth or just of musicals in general. It’s the perfect environment to properly geek out about musical theatre!
By Emily Schofield