Review: Britain’s Got Talent 2014 winners Collabro receive standing ovations after spectacular show at the Ipswich Regent

Collabro at the Ipswich Regent

Collabro at the Ipswich Regent - Credit: Archant

Collabro quite simply came, saw and conquered the Ipswich Regent on Tuesday night.

Standing ovations are collectable items at the theatre, but the musical theatre boy band were instantly compelling and were revelling in an emotionally-charged, somewhat crazed adulation by the end after sustaining a level of performance which was truly spectacular and fully justified their title of Britain’s Got Talent reigning champions.

It was a sold-out show and expectations were high. Last year, the operatic five-piece band scored a number one album with Stars, graced the stage at the Royal Variety Performance and performed on stage during the curtain call at Les Miserables in London’s West End.

But our expectations were met and superseded with aplomb. Using Twitter as a barometer of public opinion immediately after the show, a search for Collabro was met with a barrage of “amazings” and “perfections”.

“So many goosebumps in such a short space of time,” one wrote.


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“Every song was amazing. My poor mum is an emotional wreck!” said another.

The tenors crooned impressively with a series of anthemic renditions. It wasn’t so much a taste of the West End as a full-on five course meal: it featured their signature song Stars from Les Misérables, as well as I Dreamed a Dream and Bring Him Home – arguably their finest hour on Britain’s Got Talent, advancing them from the semi-final to the final.

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The Music of the Night (Phantom of the Opera), With You (Ghost) and Somewhere (West Side Story) were all ticked off the list and were each immensely enjoyed as Michael Auger, Richard Hadfield, Jamie Lambert, Thomas Leak and Matthew Pagan harmonized beautifully with each other and their nine-piece orchestra.

Indeed, the operatic five-piece band have transmogrified from a crude first draft which only met for the first time a year ago in a room above a pub to a showtune-belting sensational final copy; fearless, cool, funny, confident, exciting, spine-tingling good and still full of potential.

They are living their show business dream and, as they confirmed on stage, are “loving every minute of it”.

So did we, although we had to wait half an hour first as the warm-up, unsigned 30-year-old singer-songwriter Philippa Hanna, performed six songs. It was just her and her guitar – hardly a harbinger of what was to come – but in between songs, which were amiable and occasionally very good, she delivered heart-warming biographical monologues illustrating her struggle to break the enigma code of the music world while retaining an intransigent will to not conform to pop music conventions, which eventually endeared her to the audience.

Then came the main act, who were admirably supported by Lucy Kay, the runner-up of last year’s eighth series of Britain’s Got Talent. She possesses an incredible operatic voice which many may have forgotten and her version of Nessun Dorma (from Puccini’s opera Turandot) was one of the highlights of the night, prompting the second fully-fledged standing ovation.

The first was earned by Collabro at the end of the first half. Somewhere Over the Rainbow (The Wizard of Oz) was magnificent; as was the entire show.

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