REVIEW: Willemijn Verkaik in Concert, Ambassadors Theatre ✭✭✭✭

Last Updated on 28th August 2015

Willemijn Verkaik in Concert

Willemijn Verkaik in Concert
Ambassadors Theatre
25 August 2015
4 Stars

What links Wicked, We Will Rock You and Tarzan? The stunningly powerful performances of Willemijn Verkaik as this very special concert shows, focusing on the wide variety of roles that she has played so far in her career.

The concert started rather tentatively in the opening number ‘A Piece of Sky’, but Verkaik was quick to warm up and it soon became clear to see how much she was enjoying herself and losing herself in the music that she was performing.

What made Willemijn so enjoyable to listen to is the variety of her vocals and the way in which she manages to get every hint of emotion out of each individual note. This was particularly evident in the acoustic version of ‘The Winner Takes it All’, which sounded even more vulnerable and heartbreaking than ever before.

Verkaik’s interpretations of songs enabled us to look at a song from a new perspective, this was of course helped by the wonderful band and their performances, but it certainly sounded as though she was able to uncover different layers to songs and making them sound unique. Listening to her version of ‘You’ll Be in My Heart’ was eye and ear opening – making the audience sit up and pay attention (as well as wanting to book a ticket to see her in Stuttgart to see her performing in Tarzan).

So it was a shame to note that some of the acoustics during performances such as ‘My Strongest Suit’ sounded overpowering, losing the sincerity that we were getting from the warm vocals of Verkaik. But it is clear that it didn’t matter much if at all to the audience who were warm in their enthusiasm from the moment Verkaik first stepped on stage to the very powerful finale.

Willemijn Verkaik in Concert

The vocal dynamics between Verkaik and Victoria Hamilton-Barritt during the duet ‘Don’t Forget Me’, were equally strong and complemented each other beautifully – warm, tender and showing a great understanding and respect for the music they were performing.

But while the first half of the concert was about powerful and dramatic songs the second half was certainly a more relaxed affair.

Her performances of ‘Another One Bites the Dust’ and her duet with James Fox ‘Who Wants to Live Forever’ revealed a different side to her personality. With ‘Another One Bites the Dust’, the audience saw more of an attitude and boldness to her performance that hadn’t been seen up until that point in the concert. Meanwhile, ‘Who Wants to Live Forever’ was a stylish but simple performance that showed real chemistry between Fox and Verkaik.

Of course, no Willemijn Verkaik concert would be complete without a medley of songs from Wicked, in which she has appeared on and off for six years. This literally left the audience on a high as they gave a standing ovation to complete the evening’s celebration.

It was a brilliant and energetic concert that clearly showed that Verkaik is having the time of her life and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

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