This current tour sees Ansell take to the stage as a solo act with the help of friends Helena Blackman (see on How do you Solve a Problem like Maria?) and two male vocalists, and a small band.
In terms of staging, it's very simple and quite sparse, although the most is made of the lighting but more work could be put in to actually improving the quality of the staging. At times Ansell looks swamped by the stage at the Opera House and the stools used for the singers a little dated - think Westlife!
However, Ansell certainly knows how to please his audience and he has a great on stage persona. His set list includes some of the songs of G4, a track from Whistle Down the Wind and some musical theatre hits, which highlights his versatility brilliantly.
There is no denying Ansell has a very pleasing voice and performs well hits such as "Barcelona", "The Music of the Night" from the Phantom of the Opera and a beautiful version of "Danny Boy." It is fair to say that Ansell largely appeals to a more mature female audience and they certainly seem thrilled with his set on the night I attended and he works the audience well. Getting in to the crowd and delighting the front row by singing directly to them; the fans get their money’s worth and get the opportunity to get close to their heart-throb.
All told, Jonatham Ansell and Friends offers the audience an enjoyable evening and demonstrates that perhaps a career in musical theatre is beckoning for Ansell, as he certainly has the vocal capacity and the training as well as the audience appeal. A question and answer session and some rousing performances certainly leave the audience exhilarated and satisfied with this safe but reliable show.
- Ruth Lovett