Review: Elaine Paige @ SDH
Elaine Paige - Page by Page by Paige
Saint David's Hall, Cardiff
It's been 50 years since Elaine Paige first took to the stage. One of the biggest names in musical theatre, her fame is not without merit, but she is now leaving these "cardboard trees, the painted scenes, the smells here". No more "early morning madness" or "magic in the making" for her either now, but her BBC Radio 2 musicals show is now in its 10th year and shows no signs of cancellation.
Seeing her on Sky Arts on the Elaine Paige Show made she think she has lost her voice. How silly I was. When seeing this little figure on stage, her voice is still demanding and full of earthy and smokey undertones. From Grease Paint: Roar of the Crowd to this final tour, a remarkable legacy shall be left by the little lady with the goofy laugh.
In a packed Saint David's Hall (with me looking like the youngest attendee), people were expecting a great farewell concert. We got this, but things felt somehow relaxed. Could we have had more songs? Mabye. But, with an energetic band, fellow singer Gardar Thor Cortes is the best thing to come out of Iceland since BjÃ¶rk.
She went through her classic repertoire of songs, including Evita, Sunset Boulevard (one of my fav musicals), Piaf, Chess, and, of course, Cats (Memory was an encore for the evening). We would have been up in arms had she not sung Memory, which is totally her own song. She dressed up in a few fashionable numbers: Norma Desmond attire for Sunset Boulevard, a golden dress like BrÃ¼nnhilde in GÃ¶tterdÃ¤mmerung, a back cocktail dress, and more. This slight diva knew what she was doing and knew how to handle an audience in her own quirky and gracious way.
Like with John Tavener, this was another milestone seeing a great career come to an end. With all the stock images of Elaine projected onto a screen behind her, we could appreciate her efforts, for our enjoyment. Her classic line at the end of the evening, "I wouldn't be here without you" rings true, especially in the gay community.
I guess the memory lives on.
Elaine Paige continues her farewell UK tour in Bristol, Manchester, Gateshead, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Brighton and London.
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