Glee Live, O2, London
Tuesday 28 June 2011
It's hard to remember life before Glee, a time before our hearts were first captured by what is now one of the most famous TV casts in the world. A show that was perhaps first intended to be a sassy comedy for those with an inclination towards musical theatre has become a phenomenal tribute to the underdog. The Glee fanbase is home to a borderline ridiculous amount of devotion.
And so it is that Glee's translation to the stage has caused feverish excitement, and this was palpable at the O2 on Saturday night. The typical Glee fan, I discover, is very much like me – a slightly geeky teenage girl for whom Glee has slowly but surely become one of the main components of their everyday lives. I would love to say that these girls were filled with worry about how the show would translate onto the stage, but, truthfully, the cast would have caused absolute uproar just by being there.
Of course, this was not all they did. The Glee cast may have been new to the television screen in 2009, but many of them are veterans in the world of musical theatre. Take Lea Michele (who plays Rachel Berry) for example. She made her Broadway debut aged nine in Les Misérables and has since played four further roles on Broadway stages alone before signing up for Glee. It is a common misconception (mostly among those who have never watched the show) that Glee is some kind of auto-tuned trash that exists for the sole purpose of destroying classic songs.
On the contrary, the cast as an ensemble display a completely overwhelming package of talent in both dancing and singing and, if anything, make many songs several times better than the originals. Paul McCartney's "Silly Love Songs", surely not the proudest moment of his career, was given new life when sung by the dapper Dalton Academy Warblers, the newest additions to the Glee cast. When they sang Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream" they actually did the feeble original a huge favour (the same can be said for Rebecca Black's "Friday" in select shows, but we don't get to hear that tonight). Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'", Glee's first big hit, is now the most downloaded catalogue song in iTunes history. As an opening number, it bowled this audience over.
The fans walked away extremely happy, and perhaps there were even a few naysayers who were converted. I firmly believe that no one would have left disappointed.
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