Concert Hall, June 17
Teen idols may routinely receive such adoration, but it’s rare when the house is full of adults. Thankfully Kristin Chenoweth was already used to unconditional love. She told us she gets it from her Maltese terrier, too.
In case any interlopers had strayed into the wrong room among the thronging faithful a giant screen proclaimed “Kristin” at the outset. While the 11-piece band played an overture this screen showed stills from her past glories (including Ms Chenoweth decorating the covers of assorted magazines). Celebrity begets celebrity, as they say.
When she appeared in person the house exploded. Her devotees were rewarded with the many sides of Ms Chenoweth: operatic Kristin, Broadway Kristin, comic Kristin, dancing Kristin, disco Kristin and even Christian Kristin. She fizzed, sparkled, amused, charmed and had one cringing a little at the saccharine pap that so readily passes for emotion in American show-biz.
Her voice is certainly an instrument of considerable power and range. Sometimes it had a harshness that grated, but she sang Kander and Ebb’s My Coloring Book with such exquisite delicacy as to justify some of the fuss.
The highlight in heart-warming terms came when Chenoweth (the original Glinda in Wicked) invited Lucy Durack (Australia’s Glinda) up from the audience. This was completely spontaneous and unrehearsed (they’d never met), and Durack slipped back into her old role while Chenoweth took Elphaba’s part in a delightful For Good.
Amid many dodgy song choices she reassured us by revealing that Jerome Kern was her favourite composer, but then made All The Things You Are one of many offerings to be overwrought. She was at her comedic best revisiting the hilarious I’m Tired (sung by Madeline Kahn in Blazing Saddles), milking the innuendos as though they were he last cows on earth.
Every song and almost every move, note and word was met with rapture, so the standing ovations and encores were looming inevitabilities. Chenoweth seemed genuinely overwhelmed. Just like her adoring fans.