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Take a front row seat as Michael Ball explores 100 years of musical theatre and enjoy over an hour and a half of peerless performances of everything from Anyone Can Whistle, Padam Padam and There’s No Business Like Show Business to Happy Talk, Nice Dream and a show-stopping 10 minute 100 song medley! A unique and unforgettable show!
Whether belting through 100 numbers in a breath-taking ten minute marathon, turning Garland’s ‘The Man that Got away’ into a lament for his own better beginnings, or ‘There’s No Business Like Show Business’ from the usual anthem to a wry commentary on those who take it up for a living…Ball constantly makes us re-think the songs we thought we knew. –The Spectator
As he tightens his grip over the intimate Donmar Warehouse, relying not on chit-chat or a hand-mike but on sheer empathy with his material, an audience can be forgiven for checking his programme. Can this really be Michael Ball? It is a darker, more burnished figure who is facing a birthday with no less significant change in career. Ball’s cleverly devised and directed by Jonathan Butterell with Jason Carr the invaluable pianist. Duke Ellington might not seem the most logical segue from Radiohead, until, that is, you’ve heard ‘Nice Dream’ bleed seamlessly into ‘Solitude.’ The programme mixes Sondheim, Adam Guettel and Michael John LaChiusa with a version of John Lennon’s ‘Mother’ that is as heart-stopping as a subsequent ‘Happy-Talk’ is glistening with delight. At the end of what must be an exhausting vocal marathon, Ball delivers an a cappella ‘After the Ball,’ his firm high baritone rather touchingly – by that point – straining after the final note. A defect? Not at all; more like a well-earned chink in the armour at which one realises, and not for the first time during a stirring evening, that Michael Ball is human, too. –Variety
Here he is, so close with nothing but a bottle of water as a prop. …what makes the evening into more than a star trawling through 100 years of musical theatre is the slyly self-deprecating twinkle that he brings to the whole event. …it’s a finished artist who can make something new of ‘There’s No Business Like Show Business’… The highlight of the evening is the opening of the second half, a hectic songfest of about snatching phrases from about 30 standards to make a collage of verbal and rhythmic nuances. He is accompanied with tremendous verve and quite daring pianism, by Jason Carr, whose arrangements are often surprising in their spareness. –The Daily Telegraph