Last Saturday, the Thailand Cultural Centre’s packed main theatre, saw the Bangkok audience on their feet at the end of a spectacular two-hour concert performed by some of the West End’s leading actors.
The British Ambassador HE Brian Davidson who was supporting the evening along with ThaiVisa.com came on stage before the concert to explain the importance that British theatre.
He said that musicals bring in massive tourist revenue to London’s economy. He added that more go to the theatre than attend Premier League matches in London.
The concert then started and the curtain rose with 50 leading musicians from the Royal Bangkok Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Vanich Potavanich, playing a very powerful overture covering several mega musicals.
The three West End Men then arrived on stage and ran through a medley from South Pacific and Guys and Dolls before their special guest star Ms Harriet Jones sang I Could Have Danced All Night from My Fair Lady.
Another highlight from the first half was their Boublil and Schonberg medley. Starting with The Heat Is On and Last Night of the World from Miss Saigon, this was followed by Daniel Keok’s passionate rendition of Bring Him Home from Les Misérables. Daniel had played the lead role of Jean Valjean in the London production.
All for performers returned for the rousing One Day More again from Les Misérables and here the voice range and harmonies were magnificent.
Act Two started with music from Chess including the iconic One Night in Bangkok plus and West Side Story with Ashley Stillburn’s Maria standing out.
The three men then all sang Defying Gravity from Wicked and some great harmonies from Seal’s Kiss from a Rose.
However, many of the Thai and Expat audience had been anticipating the Phantom of the Opera Medley, especially as Harriet Jones had played the part of Christine in the London production for three years, and she did not let them down. Hitting all those incredible high notes to perfection, with the orchestra playing Lloyd Webber’s great haunting melodies, coupled with the moody lighting and dry ice, you began to feel you could be watching the real show. Daniel then sang Phantom of the Opera to perfection.
Hugh Maynard, who had starred in both the original production and the recent hit revival of Miss Saigon sang the poignant song Bui Doi and then all four returned for an encore to sing Circle of Life from The Lion King.
Several of the cast told us that in London they have 15 musicians in the pit, but to have such a large orchestra was exceptional. I must agree that the Royal Bangkok Symphony Orchestra were on top form.
We sometimes miss out on seeing the big shows in Bangkok, but credit to Bangkok based promoters Big Mango Productions for putting this concert together. London’s West End Men brought their slice of music magic to life.
One Night in Bangkok….and let’s hope we get many more in the future.
by Dan Cheeseman