Ria Jones plays Mrs Overall, in superb voice as ever but also with a light comic touch which has been untapped previously. She steals the show during several scenes.
The cast of 20 are superb whether singing, dancing or delivering a one liner. There were rumours Julie Walters would appear but, no disrespect to Smaethwick’s favourite daughter, that would have denied us the sublime talents of Ria Jones who shines in a cast of stars.
Worthy of special note is Ria Jones as Mrs Overall. Julie Walters and Wood herself are obviously tough acts to follow but Jones, who recently starred at The Lowry in Anything Goes, makes the part completely her own.
And there was a lot to be enthusiastic about, in particular a virtuoso performance by Ria Jones as Acorn Antiques cult figure as originated by Julie Walters, the rubber-gloved pinafored Mrs Overall of Macaroon fame. Jones didn’t do deadpan as only Walters can, but she did do an engaging cheeky, wiry, at times frenetic version, that stole every scene she was in.
Ria Jones as Reno Sweeney… this enigmatic actress has considerable stage presence. Blow Gabriel Blow and I Get A Kick Out Of You, are sung with such passion and showstopping brilliance, that jaws hit the floor.
No offence to Angela or Michael of course, but the real star of the show has to be Ria Jones as Reno Sweeney. She sparkles as the former evangelist turned nightclub singer with a voice as massive as her command of each scene.
The Best singer on the night is Ria Jones, what a maserati of a voice.
While the RPO was excellent, perhaps, the big star of the evening was singer Ria Jones, whose bubbly personality and beautiful voice were truly captivating. She embodied each character and sang with great flair. She gave all she could to each song, but some that really stood out were All That Jazz (Chicago), Don't Rain on My Parade (Funny Girl) and Memory (Cats), which showcased her range, power and versatility. It was hard to take one's eyes off her whenever she was on stage!