Review - For The Love Of Girls (The Other Palace)

To mark 100 years of women's right to vote in the UK, Serenade London presented its inaugural concert at The Other Palace, celebrating the work of female composers & lyricists in musical theatre.

Featuring a talented range of female performers, from familiar faces such as compare Wendi Peters and Laura Tebbutt, through to sensational up-and-coming talents like Nikita Johal, who recently wowed as Wendla in Spring Awakening at the Hope Mill Theatre. 

Fittingly, the concert was for the benefit of Plan International UK’s Girls Fund, which supports long-term projects to empower girls at risk of harmful practices like child marriage, female genital mutilation and violence. With such an important cause at the heart of the concert, the performers poured their all into their numbers, resulting in a thoroughly entertaining night from start to finish.

Laura Tebbutt opened the concert with the life affirming title song from Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, setting the tone for the evening and establishing a loving, supportive atmosphere which continued throughout the evening. Rebecca Gilliland followed, with a soaring rendition of Journey To The Past from Anastasia. It was wonderful to hear Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty's magical musical theatre tune in the spotlight, having found a new life on Broadway, and Gilliland more than did the song justice. But it wasn't just the musicals of the moment which were on display, as Charlie-Jade Jones proved as she sang Jimmy from the beloved Thoroughly Modern Millie, her crystal clear voice perfectly complimenting the silvery love song.

The first act was packed with plenty of fabulous performances of some well loved musical theatre tunes, and the quality of performance amplified even further after the interval, which was preceded by a video outlining the important work of Plan International UK's Girls  Fund, supporting girls through education so they can thrive later in life. 

There were plenty of highlights to the set list in act 2, with some notable highlights being Lauren Chia's hilarious take on Morning Person from Shrek the Musical, featuring Samantha Dorsey who lent her vocals to some cheeping birds. Alexandra J Burns performed a powerful rendition of What Baking Can Do from Sara Bareilles' Waitress the Musical, whilst Nikita Johal riffed up a storm with The History of Wrong Guys from Cindy Lauper's Kinky Boots. It was also a treat to hear Alex Young' haunting vocals as she tackled Days and Days from Fun Home, soon to be seen on the West End. The talent in the room was remarkable, and when every performer came together to close the concert with Carole King and Gerry Goffin's You've Got A Friend, it was a fittingly upbeat finale which highlighted just exactly what the whole concert was in aid of. 

With conversations about diversity and equality in the arts making headline constantly, For The Love Of Girls was a heartening celebration of the work of some of musical theatre’s foremost female composers and lyricists, performed by a first rate collective of women. It'll be a treat to see what Serenade London does next!