Susan Boyle’s iconic performance on the entertainment competition “Britain’s Got Talent” is memorable in many ways, and she does not deny that her appearance shocked host Simon Cowell. In fact, she embraces it. That Cinderella moment, when she announced she wanted to be a professional singer to a disbelieving Cowell, was what opened her show last Wednesday night at the DPAC, which was part of her world tour.
With tongue in cheek, she appears at the top of a set of stairs, clad in a pink gown that makes her appear somewhat angelic. In silhouette, she mimes the moment when she told Cowell she was 47 years old -– “… and that’s just one side of me.” At 53, she has attained the dream she announced on the evening she sang “I Dreamed a Dream” and paved her way into the hearts of what has now become legions of fans.
Susan Boyle in Concert, which played the Durham Performing Arts Center on Oct. 29th, is a production befitting an international songstress, complete with wardrobe changes and three backup singers. Boyle appears packaged and professional, though there are moments when one can still sense the awkward Scottish choir singer who often battles anxiety.
She rarely moves on stage, and the comments she makes appear to be scripted and timed, well-rehearsed but not comfortable for her. She is most relaxed when she opens her heart through her music, soaring through familiar standards, such as her opening number “Out Here on my Own” and her gorgeous interpretation of the Rolling Stones’ hit, “Wild Horses.”
During the first half of the show, Susan Boyle’s mezzo soprano smoothly delivered “Cry Me a River” and “Over the Rainbow” as she sat next to the piano, nodding her head companionably toward Kennedy Atchison, her pianist. Her control and range enables her to move from ballads to blues, and each song is imbued with a grace and passion that reaches out over the floodlights.
The two-hour show offered the DPAC fans an opportunity to hear their favorites, and it was obvious by the deafening applause and shouts of “We love you, Susan,” that “You Raise Me Up” and “I Dreamed a Dream” were songs they had come to hear. She covers music sung by pop icons such as Sarah McLachlan, as well as Broadway showstoppers such as Elaine Paige. The difference between Boyle and other singers, however, is that she simply covers what others have done. Nowhere in her performance was there a song that was strictly her own, her hit single, her signature.
With more than 22 million albums sold and experiences such as singing for a sitting Pope and the Queen of England under her belt, Susan Boyle has definitely achieved her dream, and many more thousands of her adoring fans will be able to share this dream as she continues moving through her successful world tour.
VIDEO PREVIEW: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKfpyKmdOsg.
Susan Magdalane Boyle (53-year-old Scottish mezzo-soprano and “Britain’s Got Talent” contestant): http://www.susanboylemusic.com/uk/home (official website), https://www.facebook.com/susanboyle (Facebook page), https://twitter.com/susanboylemusic (Twitter page), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susan_Boyle (Wikipedia).
Dawn Reno Langley is a Durham, NC-based author who writes novels, poetry, children’s books, and nonfiction books on many subjects, as well as theater reviews. She is also Dean of General Education and Developmental Studies at Piedmont Community College in Roxboro, where she oversees the theater program at the Kirby Cultural Arts Complex, and a member of the Person County Arts Council. To read all of Dawn Langley’s Triangle Review reviews online at Triangle Arts and Entertainment, click http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/author/dawn-reno-langle/. To read more of her writings, click http://dawnrenolangley.com/.