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Helena Blackman - Journey to the Past (Tour - Manchester)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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Venue: Chetham's School Of Music
Where: Manchester

She caught the attention of Andrew Lloyd Webber and the nation back in 2006 when she came second in the BBC talent search, How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?, and now musical theatre sensation Helena Blackman is back to entertain audiences in her very own tour, Journey To The Past.

Predominantly the performance is based around animated movie classics from Disney favourites, both old and new. From Snow White, to Pocahontas, to Tangled, Helena and her pianist cover them all, appealing to the younger generations, while similarly taking adults on a nostalgic journey back into their childhood.

The star's voice is both pure and beautiful to listen to, and especially within the Hogwarts-style environment of Chetham’s School of Music, her timbre is particularly alluring - her version of "The Lady Is A Tramp" being the stand-out song of the evening.

However, for tickets that range from £10 - £15 in price, there is definite work that needs to be done. This is an intimate gig, and although it is lovely for an audience to be made to feel as if they are being invited into Helena’s home, there are moments when it becomes almost too comfortable.

By no means was it Helena’s fault, but when her special guest, Josh Little joins her on stage to sing a duet of "A Whole New World" and "Somewhere Out There" and forgets the words to the latter, it ruins the escapism value, and begins to feel like the audience had been invited to a preview or a rehearsal. And while Helena’s chit chat about Disney history was interesting, there was a little too much audience question-time, as opposed to perhaps Helena question-time.

Regardless of a few easily changeable faux-pas, Helena makes the perfect Disney princess, who is undoubtedly worthy of a career filled with happily ever afters.

- Rebecca Cohen


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