REVIEW: Alfie Boe, Sheffield City Hall

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IT’S not often you’ll see an operatic tenor loosen his bowtie and do a swift drum solo. But this one does.

Well, he would if was wearing a bow tie that is…but there’s no formality in Alfie Boe’s concerts - and Sheffield felt like one big, friendly party.

The sell out show had Alfie looking as if he’d be just as at home in a Led Zep tribute band, with his T-shirt, waistcoat and flowing locks. His set weaved through opera, a James Bond medley, Beatles, folk and rock.

Bring Him Home, the showstopper from Les Miserables lending its name to this tour, was a high spot, made more special by its composer, Claude-Michel Schonberg, playing piano. Another Les Mis song, Stars, was performed with comedian Jason Manford, who likened being on stage with his pal Alfie to doing posh karaoke.

Guest soprano Laura Wright’s pure voice soared to Bette Midler’s The Rose and the theme to Chariots Of Fire in spite of Alfie and Jason doing a slo-mo run around the stage.

Alfie got a fit of the giggles more than once and seemed to be having a ball. His chatter was warm and genuine and he found the lady in the front row drinking spritzer highly entertaining.

An encore saw thundering drums morph into Led Zep’s Kashmir, followed in total contrast by an emotional rendition of Maria at a fan’s request. A rousing closer of Climbing Jacob’s Ladder got fans to their feet and dancing. Pavarotti was never half so much fun.