As one of the UK's most popular leading ladies, I have often been impressed by Rebecca Storm's performances in such demanding roles as Eva Peron (Evita), Fantine (Les Miserables), Florence (Chess), Rose (Aspects Of Love), Edith Piaf (Piaf), Joan of Arc (Jeanne), Donna (Mamma Mia) and Miss Hannigan (Annie).
However, this rare local appearance provided me with my first opportunity to catch this extremely talented lady in an intimate concert ... and, boy, was it a revelation, as this versatile performer proved to be every bit as captivating singing non-show songs as she is with anything in the musical theatre canon.
The Yorkshire singer, who has adopted Ireland as her home, treated us to a wide range of musical styles.
Accompanied by some of our best local musicians under the direction of husband Kenny Shearer, Storm displayed her natural ability to vocally live the lyrics of any song. From the soft tones of Make You Feel My Love to the jazzy vocals of Don't Rain On My Parade, there were many highlights, particularly her emotional rendition of Beatles song, She's Leaving Home.
Closely associated with playing Mrs Johnstone in Willy Russell's Blood Brothers, the finale, Tell Me It's Not True, was an apt choice after audience member, Fred, had just told her she was his second favourite Mrs Johnstone ... Sorry, Fred, I believe she is the best.