Blake: The Story So Far

| August 18, 2017


The Story So Far

The Pheasantry, London, U.K., August 11, 2017

Reviewed by Thanasis Kalantzis for Cabaret Scenes


What do three school friends who haven’t seen each other in years do when they hook up through social media? Have a beer and catch up? Take a vacation together to have some fun? Form a classical “crossover” group which has produced several Number 1 hits in 10 countries, sold multiple-platinum albums, had over 150 TV appearances and won a classical Brit Award for album of the year? Well, check, check and check. Blake is the name of the group, and the three dashing young men that comprise it are tenors Ollie Baines and Humphrey Berney and baritone Stephen Bowman—and they are simply to die for. With their show The Story So Far at The Pheasantry they celebrated their 10 years together, and told their amazing story so far. Eclectically mixing classical and pop songs with rich harmony vocals, they gave us a delicious melange of eternal numbers we all know and adore.

They started with the unforgettable “She” (Charles Aznavour/Herbert Kretzmer; English lyrics by Elvis Costello), and moved on to a beautiful rendition of “Nella Fantasia” (Ennio Morricone/Chiara Ferraù). The Eagles’ hit “Desperado” benefited immensely by Bowman’s baritone, and so did “When I Fall in Love” (Victor Young/Edward Heyman), while Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” was just a marvel. Piaf’s beautiful anthem to love “Hymne à L’amour”—English title “If You Love Me (Really Love Me)”—(English lyrics by Geoffrey Parsons) was done with all the sensitivity it requires, and I particularly loved their heartfelt rendition of Sting’s “Fields of Gold.”

Musical theater numbers could not be missing from their repertoire. They sang “The Music of the Night” (The Phantom of the Opera), “Summertime” (Porgy and Bess), an exquisite “Bring Him Home” (Les Misérables), and “On the Street Where You Live” (My Fair Lady). They concluded with nothing less that the aria “Nessun Dorma” (Turandot) and brought the house down.

I could really not pick a showstopper. Their ability, agility, and harmonious delivery made each song sound unique, and they owned every song. Their capacity to connect effortlessly with the room highlighted their professionalism and love for their craft and their crowd. They made us laugh, they made us cry, and they made us marvel with their talent. 

Happy anniversary, Blake! Here’s to many more nights together!

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Category: Cabaret Reviews, London, London Cabaret Reviews, Regional

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