REVIEW: Idina Menzel live at the Apollo Theatre Shaftesbury Avenue

Accompanied by a 25-piece orchestra, the Tony Award-winning Broadway and Glee star has returned to London for a week-long concert season. 

Menzel bounds barefoot onto the stage at the Apollo Theatre in the West End and for the next two hours she chats, jokes, engages in some audience participation and above all belts out a series of songs that have either defined her career or have personal meaning.

The musical highlights include: Don’t Rain On My Parade, Over The Rainbow, Joni  Mitchell’s Both Sides Now, U2’s I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, Somewhere from West Side Story which she names as her favourite song ever, and a mash up of Cole Porter’s Love For Sale and The Police’s Roxanne. There are of course nods to her most famous roles with an audience participation version of Take Me or Leave Me from Rent and of course,The Wizard and I and Defying Gravity from Wicked. The most poignant moment of the evening comes as she shares her story about working with the late, great Marvin Hamlisch and sings his song At The Ballet from A Chorus Line.

It is her personality that sets Menzel apart. Despite her status as a Broadway superstar she is self-effacing, endearing, funny and, well, downright normal. She makes unnerving amounts of eye contact, stops to pose for photos and shares some personal as well as showbiz anecdotes with the packed out and very vocal crowd making this a more intimate and personal experience. Hopefully it won’t be too long before she graces our shores again.

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