Tuneful treats from Nigel Richards

  • Arts
  • Monday, 07 Apr 2014

British stage performer Nigel Richards captivated the audience with his booming vocals at the Theatre Lounge Cafe in Kuala Lumpur.

British vocalist Nigel Richards kept the audience in awe at his show series in Kuala Lumpur.

BRITISH singer/actor Nigel Richards is no stranger to showbiz on a large or intimate scale. His name has graced West End productions (including playing the lead role in Phantom Of The Opera) and he also made a BBC Proms appearance. To scratch the experimental itch, Richards even tried out eccentric musician Scott Walker’s tunes on stage. He won the hearts of purists when he took on a role in the acclaimed production Drifting And Tilting – The Songs Of Scott Walker at the Barbican in London in 2008. Alongside British pop musicians like Jarvis Cocker, Damon Albarn and Gavin Friday, he took on Walker’s challenging songcraft.

His resume also includes a two-year stint in American experimental theatre director Robert Wilson’s production of Tom Waits’ The Black Rider over a decade ago.

Richards is also a respected teacher in musical theatre.

Last weekend, he played a small showcase series at the Intimate Encounters@Theatre Lounge Cafe in Kuala Lumpur. It was all about Richards’ fantastic voice and stageside charisma.

I’ve been to concerts before and watched singers perform, but nothing quite like this.

Rest assured, I was not disappointed in the least when this talented performer took the stage last Friday night.

Richards blew the crowd away with his booming voice and literally stunned the room into silence. A typical West End charmer, he bantered and captivated the audience by rolling out several tunes from stage musicals, such as Phantom Of The Opera and Les Misérables.

Throughout this 60-minute set, Richards was the focus of attention. The small performance space made the show a real treat for music fans. It was like having Richards in your living room.

Out came classics like More (from the film Dick Tracy), Frogs (from theatre production Cinderella), Some Enchanted Evening (from South Pacific), Bring Him Home, Stars and Empty Chairs And Empty Tables (from Les Misérables), Let’s Do It (written by Cole Porter for the musical Paris), Pointy’s Lament (from next-generation Stephen Sondheim, Michael John LaChiusa’s The Petrified Prince) and Music Of The Night (Phantom Of The Opera).

He performed 13 songs in total with a short intermission in between.

On Friday night, Richards was accompanied by local pianist Samuel Tan, who supplied a sublime performance too.

Of course, it was Richards’ rich and amazing vocals that put a smile on many faces. Some swayed on the spot and some simply closed their eyes listening to how he hit every note perfectly. But what was interesting was how Richards told a story in each of his performances. He sang each tune as if he was narrating a page from a delightful storybook. From songs about love, solace, heartaches and joy, Richards brought the night to life and filled the room with melodic and enchanting music that was truly magical.

Hence the title of his show, Let’s Fall In Love.

It comes as no surprise that this bloke has many experiences to share.

“What would I know about love?” he asked the crowd at the beginning of his first act.

“I’m 49 and single!” he continued, sending the crowd into hysterical laughter. It is clear, Richards was born to entertain. His songs, just like him were filled with humour. By the end of the night, you could end up crying, laughing or completely inspired.

The affable Englishman wasn’t just a delight to watch on stage. He was fun to talk to.

“It’s my first time in Malaysia and I’m still getting over your wonderful weather!” he said. He also mentioned being in Kuala Lumpur made him fall in love with the people here. “Everyone is so warm and friendly and I feel so welcomed.”

The good news is Richards will back at the Intimate Encounters@Theatre Lounge Cafe this weekend.

“I will be singing and playing the piano then. Tell your friends!” he said. Richards’ next show called A Life In Song promises to feature more delightful and uplifting tunes. He has also mentioned that he will be exhibiting how the mask in Phantom Of The Opera is made on that night. A tale worth listening to surely

Nigel Richards’ show series A Life In Song from April 11 to 13 will take place at Intimate Encounters@Theatre Lounge Cafe (B1-3A, Plaza Damas 3, No. 63 Jalan Sri Hartamas 1, Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur). Shows start at 9pm. Cover charge is RM100. For more details, call 012-236 9100 or 03-6211 3000. Browse www.theatreloungecafe.com.

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