Friday, 22 May 2009

Elmbridge Guardian Fairfield Hall Review

Small makes a huge impact
3:25pm Friday 22nd May 2009

By Nathan Woolford »

Heather Small, one of the quintessential voices of the mid-1990s, proved she hasn't lost one bit of her fearsome vocal range with a commanding, crowd-pleasing performance at Fairfield Hall on Tuesday.

Belting out an intriguing blend of recogniseable hits from her days with chart-busters M-People together with a collection of personal favourites from days gone by, Small's charisma and charm shone through on a night which had the Croydon audience dancing in the aisles.

Looking stunning in a jet black cocktail dress, the 44-year-old songstress wore a hyena-like grin throughout her hour-long set, and appeared to be having the time of her life in each and every minute of it.

Backed up by the Snake Davis Band, Small's song selection was unique as she criss-crossed old M-People favourites with a selection of songs that remain close to her heart. As such, Moving On Up, Search for the Hero and One Night in Heaven were mingled with her personalised versions of Abba's Fernando, the Elvis classic Heartbreak Hotel and even the ultra-mellow Elkie Brooks hit Pearl's a Singer.

Indeed, Small paid tribute to Brooks early on in the show, citing her as a major influence and mentor. Midway through her performance, as she reeled off back-to-back jazz numbers, the impact of Brooks could clearly be seen as Small captivated her audience with an eerie, almost haunting singing style - a complete departure from her powerful trademark voice.

The Croydon crowd were also treated to a memorable warm-up act in the form of energetic flautist Lucy Noble, whose enchanting performance, along with a three-piece band, was a brave but beautiful way to open up the show

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