No matter how much schooling they do, there is nothing that can prepare the actor who takes on the most difficult role he or she will ever play – themselves. Devoid of set, props, cast and character the performer stands centre stage and whether he sinks or swims depends purely on his talent. Lee Mead doesn’t just swim, he shows that he would be a great contender in the Olympic 100 metre freestyle!
Showcasing the voice and the personality which took him to the winner’s podium in the television talent search, Any Dream Will Do, he powers his way through an eclectic set list that contains songs that are so incredibly diverse, most singers and actors wouldn’t even attempt them.
Backed by a six-piece band, he starts the evening with a crowd-pleasing version of the Queen hit, “Crazy little thing called love”, which also prepares an audience that may have come just to hear the more familiar showtunes, to expect something a little different. He follows the upbeat start with two or three songs from his new CD The Love Album before moving on to cover hits by David Gray and Coldplay.
Only now are the audience treated to the first of the theatre songs. Like the proud father that he is in real life, Mead introduces a song that seems almost like a son to him, the beautiful “Close every door” from Joseph. Evoking many memories of his time on the show which, before singing, he shares with his eager audience, he disappears into an almost trance like state to deliver a committed and passionate performance that earns him the first standing ovation of the evening.
To follow such an amazing rendition would have been almost impossible, so he vacates the stage after introducing his colleague from their time in Wicked, the talented Louise Dearman. She continues the love-song theme before Mead reappears and they perform a fantastic duet version of Glen Hansard’s, “Falling slowly”
The second half offers the audience more selections from the albums of both singers and more in the way of show songs. “Bring him home” earns another standing ovation, “Any dream will do” has the entire audience singing the backing vocals and “Dancing through life” leads very neatly into a duet of “As long as your mine” for a Wicked double bill.
Following the showbusiness tradition of saving the very best for last, Mead takes centre stage in front of the expectant crowd and delivers a flawless performance of “Anthem” from Chess to finish of a truly splendid evening.
With stories from his exciting career, gentler tales from the proud and happy family man and some very good comedy as well, Mead opened himself up to the audience knowing that this is where he would win or lose and he proved to be every inch a winner.