Reviewer Mark Ritchie
A Tuesday afternoon session with lots of promise and dapper compere Richard Grey was again on hand. Meet and greet abounded with splendid table-hopping magician Kevin Gerrans impressing one and all. Darren McClain was also presenting his Darth Vader and Star Wars characters.
Aside from the fact that it was immediately apparent that singer Rachel Hockley is both beautiful to look at and entered stunningly dressed, it was equally clear that Ms Hockley is the proud owner of a rather special voice. In short, this artiste may well prove to be one of the finds of the entire showcase season so far.
Similarly singer Jamie Johnson was hugely impressive and his soulful voice was full of range and depth. However, why do such great singers still persist with fade-out backing tracks? Although Johnson, who appeared recently in The Voice, redeemed himself somewhat with a superbly sung version of Bonnie’s Wraitt’s classic song of unrequited love, I Can’t Make You Love Me.
Ramona and Matti hail from Helsinki and are now performing contortions, circus skills and incredible feats of balance within the framework of a cabaret act. Distinctive and extremely creative, I would envisage that interest will be considerable and offers will prove copious.
Singer Sophie Causbrook received a huge build-up, I’m not sure if purple hair really fits the image of a be-gowned mezzo-soprano, but the voice is certainly top notch!
Afro Dizzy Act is the imaginative name of a ventriloquist who is performing the now familiar human puppet routine. The whole thing looked a little untidy, but Barry White and Bob Marley puppets certainly put a different slant of all things vent!
Now that’s What We Call 80’s is a vocal duo who provide a good standard of vocal ability and certainly tick all the boxes for a genre tribute in terms of stage wear too. There was even a bit of Bucks Fizz style skirt-ripping.
Stevie Jay Johnson is an experienced looking campaigner, whose rocking singing voice was one of the best of its type I heard lately. This sharply dressed singing star proved to be one of the real highlights of this entire event.
The very fact that we don’t often see anyone taking a crack at a Marilyn Monroe musical tribute, could be useful for Burlesque performer Isabella Bliss. We all know that Diamonds are a girl’s best friend and this really is a jewel of a tribute.
Given that her career is such a fledgling one, I was perhaps quite wrong to express surprise when seeing that a tribute to Megan Trainor was on the bill. All about the Base is presented by singer ‘Georgie’ and there was plenty of doo-wop to enjoy here, reminded us that Trainor herself is in fact a prolific song-writer.
Sharn Adela is the unusual name of a top-drawer soul and motown, Diva style female vocalist, who entered resplendent in a shimmering gown. The proud owner of a great west end CV, this young lady surely needs an energetic, influential and committed management to push her forward now.
The latest fledgling singing sensation Sam Smith is now attracting tribute attention and Sounds of Sam Smith was on offer here. An experienced looking singer certainly and perhaps a nice idea in terms of vocal quality, which was outstanding.
Closing the afternoon session out was a male soul vocal group, Some Kinda Wonderful. Two singers and one percussionist produced a plethora of soulful classics, including one self-penned number.
Experts Choice: Jo Burchill of Boogie Management chose Jamie Johnson & Ramon and Matti