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  • Finian Hackett

Review: Louise Dearman shines in Brighton Fringe debut

The Brighton Fringe Festival is the second largest arts festival in the UK (after Edinburgh Fringe) and one of the largest fringe festivals in the world! It features hundreds of events across hundreds of venues attracting over half a million visitors. This year, though Covid is of course a restriction, the festival is up and running again and the city is buzzing with weird and wonderful events.

Louise Dearman's concert took place inside the Brighton Spiegeltent, one of the venues at the festival. The tent was first built in 1920 and comes all the way from Belgium! It's a circular wooden structure and is used for a wide range of events from drag acts to tea dances.

This was Louise Dearman's first time performing at Brighton Fringe having moved to Brighton & Hove recently. The musical theatre legend has starred in many musicals over the years and has performed at some of the UK's biggest venues such as the Royal Albert Hall. She also has 3 studio albums and was the voice of the lady in the adverts!

The socially distanced evening started with Dearman performing 'The Impossible Dream' from Man of La Mancha to rapturous applause. Throughout the evening, we were taken on a whistle-stop tour of Dearman's career highlights and some of her favourite musical numbers. We were treated to a wonderful rendition of 'Pharaohs Story' from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. She told the audience about the time she was in the children's choir in the West End production (in a lovely green beret) and how she then went on to play the Narrator later on in life! She is also still the only actress to have played both Glinda and Elphaba full-time in Wicked in the West End. Though many were expecting one of the big belters from the show, Dearman performed the iconic song 'Popular' which, with Dearman's brilliant comic timing, was met with great applause.

Dearman was joined by musical theatre performer Georgina Hagen. Georgina Hagen joined Dearman with a flawless performance of 'I Will Never Leave You' from Side Show (a number that Dearman had performed with Laura Pitt-Pulford when she did the show back in 2016). Hagen, who is about to embark on the UK tour of Heathers, performed 'Stars and The Moon' from Song For A New World with her very talented fiancee Christopher Duffy accompanying her on the piano.

Other highlights from the evening include the beautiful 'So Big/So Small' from Dear Evan Hansen and a jaw dropping performance of the song 'I'm A Woman'. It was INSANE. Dearman ended the evening with the song 'One Hundred Easy Ways' from Wonderful Town. She is taking on the role of Ruth in Wonderful Town at Holland Park for four dates this summer from the 1st - 3rd of July and if this performance was anything to go by, book your tickets now!

Though a small audience (due to Covid restrictions), the evening was filled with laughter and joy radiated off of the stage. Dearman has a fabulous personality that made the evening what it was. She is extremely witty, relatable and bloody talented! As someone I have always wanted to see perform live, it was fabulous to see her in such a unique venue in my local big city. Louise if you're reading this, please come back next year!


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