Don't Tell Me Not To Fly (4 stars)

Don't Tell Me Not To Fly

Big West End hits, female empowerment and anecdotes from a series of stage stars

If you recognise the song this show's title comes from, without needing to hear it sung, then this is the place for you. Although, to be fair, Don't Tell Me Not To Fly has a broader appeal than those who can recognise a line from Barbra Streisand's 'Don't Rain On My Parade' from 60 paces.

The Babs classic actually only gets a brief airing at the start of this hour-long journey into musical theatre and female empowerment. After that, it's down to the individual song choices of the artist taking the stage.

Throughout the Fringe, four female performers have passed on the baton in a kind of leading lady relay. On this occasion, it was Danielle Hope, winner of BBC's Somewhere Over the Rainbow and now a West End star.

Hope's confidence, both as a singer and somebody not shy to share her views of the world, belie her 26 years on the planet. And while it's not impossible that some older people in the audience may have felt patronised, Hope has a wise and compassionate head on her shoulders – and every right to be heard. Because as much as this is an entertaining 'songs from the shows' revue, there's a deeper current running through it. A series of images are projected behind Hope, asking questions about her life – not 'what's your favourite colour' triviality, but how she feels about the gender pay gap, which male role she would love to play and which woman she most admires.

Each question leads to a personal anecdote about Hope's life and career to date, and a song to back up the sentiment – from such diverse sources as In The Heights, West Side Story and The Muppet Musical to name but three.

Already been and gone are Janie Dee and Claire Sweeney, with Ria Jones taking hold of the baton for the final week of the Fringe, and bringing her own unique slant on life to the stage.

Underbelly Bristo Square, until 27 Aug, £17-£19.50 (£16-£18.50).

Don't Tell Me Not to Fly

  • 4 stars

Underbelly Productions This summer, four of West End’s leading ladies take residence in McEwan Hall – Janie Dee, Danielle Hope, Ria Jones and Claire Sweeney. Each night a different star will take centre stage to perform songs from smash-hit West End and Broadway musicals and iconic movies. Share in the highs and lows…

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