Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Guys Sing Dolls at The Space West End

Every now and then as a disabled person you come across a business that really surprises you with their access and my most recent surprise was Studio 88 (now known as The Piano Works) in the heart of London's West End. When I tweeted The Space at Studio 88, a new theatre and entertainment cabaret venue, I really expected to receive a tweet back saying that unfortunately they weren't accessible, I couldn't have been further from the truth though. I am so used to bars and small entertainment venues being inaccessible to me a as a wheelchair user so it was so refreshing to come across a venue I could access with ease and even more exciting when recent Bat Out Of Hell cast member Ryan Anderson announced he would be singing there as part of Guys Sing Dolls with Adam James Dawson (Spring Awakening, Seussical) and Alyn Hawke (42nd Street). The theme of the night was Leading Ladies songs and what a treat it was to hear these songs in a completely new light.


All 3 joined together to kick things off with an iconic song, One Night Only, it was at this point I knew we were in for a good evening as their voices melted together beautifully, but each one brought something different to the table. The songs choices throughout the night suited the small venue perfectly, it felt personal, but I think the arrangement of One Night Only in particular fitted the space so well.

Alyn impressed me with both his vocals and the way he acted and performed the songs, he made me smile and laugh with Broadway Baby and I Feel Pretty but then took me on such an emotional journey with See I'm Smiling. I had tried to go along to see Seussical over Christmas but just couldn't fit it into my schedule so I was delighted to get the chance to hear Adam sing, and he certainly lived up to my expectations. His version of  I'm Not Afraid Of Anything was simply stunning, it showed off how delicate but how powerful his voice can be. And how he made me smile with The Life Of The Party! I really hope to see them both in a show in the future!


Having seen Ryan perform in the role of Blake more times than I can count over the past 4 months at Bat Out Of Hell I assumed I was used to his voice, but this night showed me a completely different side and it was wonderful to see him performing as himself. What I am definitely used to is him making me cry, he sings with so much emotion and his rendition of She Used To Be Mine was packed full of raw emotion, I really believed what he was singing and it brought a tear to my eye. His duet with Alyn, Take Me or Leave Me, was one of my highlights of the night. Ryan brought out his inner diva and Alyn complimented him well with his facial expressions and reactions. They looked like they were having a lot of fun and as an audience member that just makes the experience even more enjoyable. They finished the night off together in the only way possible, as Disney princesses singing Let It Go from Frozen, it was the perfect end to an evening of the most gorgeous music.


A little about the access now! Access into the building is step free and there is a lift that takes you down to the bar area and The Space itself. There's a little bump down to get into the bar area from the lift, I wouldn't even call it a step as it's so small but it's something to be aware of. The accessible toilet is easy to access from both areas and was plenty big enough for me to turn around inside, with my pretty large mid-wheel drive powerchair! The Space, where this was held, is separated off from the bar with it's own small bar inside. It really is a very small space, smaller than I anticipated, but there was still plenty enough room for myself and most importantly, I could sit with my friends rather than being separated from them like so often happens at shows or concerts. Part of the space is up a step but there were at least 4 tables on the step free level so you've plenty of seating choice. The good thing about it being a small venue is that you don't need to worry about having a restricted view of any kind, something I know myself and many other wheelchair users often experience when trying to enjoy theatre and live music. The intimacy of the venue was something I really enjoyed since I mostly find myself in a box or back of the stalls when I'm in a theatre, so I'll definitely be looking into future concerts at The Piano Works and The Space.

Follow The Space on Twitter, find out more about The Piano Works on their website and check here to view and buy tickets for upcoming concerts.
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