There are many young pretenders to his throne but Colm Wilkinson still reigns supreme as the king of musical theatre and his concert at Edinburgh Playhouse, is a masterclass in singing, not only musical theatre but good old fashioned rock and roll too.
From the first notes we know we’re in for a special night and Wilkinson doesn’t disappoint. The rapturous applause to which he enters the stage is testament to the regard in which he is held by musical theatre aficionados. Entirely at ease on stage, this is a man thoroughly comfortable in his own skin and fully aware of his strengths: his sure-footedness instantly signalling to the audience – sit back, relax hey! even join in if you want to – but be prepared to be entertained. This is a city renowned for its subdued audience reaction but Wilkinson is a first-rate raconteur and his jovial personality and clever song choice ensured the crowd were in fine voice from the start. Hard to believe for Edinburgh but there was even audience participation at some of the more spirited songs; that should be proof enough of Wilkinson’s magic touch.
Further evidence of his surety of touch is the choice of opening number – Music of the Night – in many lesser performers repertoire this is their highlight moment left for the big finish – but Wilkinson has played the big parts, sung in massive concerts and has such a back catalogue of material that he can throw, arguably one of musical theatre’s biggest show-stoppers, in at the start as a warm up!
The evening is punctuated with songs from guest artists Siobhán Pettit and Áine Whelan, both are competent singers and provide a different dynamic to the evening: a few of the big female musical theatre show-stoppers, and both are politely received but its Wilkinson whom the crowd are here to see and the atmosphere is only truly enlivened when he’s on stage. Special mention must go to the band – all phenomenally talented individually and a treat for the ears as a whole.
It is hard to pick out any moment as a particular highlight in an evening of such quality, but, when Wilkinson walked on stage in his Jean Valjean coat to sing Bring Him Home, the entire auditorium erupted – prompting tears of emotion from many.
It would be easy to wax lyrical about the quality and tone of Wilkinson’s voice but many thousands of words have covered that already. This was a truly magical night with a master story teller in both word and song. Many of those young pretenders should take heed – this is how it should be done!
The Colm Wilkinson Fan Club
Canadian Premiere Tour
"Broadway And Beyond The Concert