Caroline Sheen returned to her homeland tonight for the first of a two-show weekend in Cardiff's newest cabaret venue in the Ffresh restaurant of the Wales Millennium Centre. Sheen is a veteran of many West End shows including The Witches of Eastwick, Mamma Mia and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, toured America as the lead in Mary Poppins and appeared in the Centre’s own homegrown musical Only the Brave last year.

Sheen’s cabaret show Feelin’ Lucky – already seen at London’s Crazy Coqs – was an opportunity for us to hear a wide selection of musical theatre numbers and stories from the lady herself, accompanied by Andrew Hopkins on piano. The evening took the form of a kind of musical ‘lucky dip’ as Sheen had 9 numbered gift bags on stage, singing two songs associated with the object in each bag – the audience got to choose which bag she opened next.

Sheen has a sparkly personality both in speech and in song and has plenty of revealing anecdotes about the audition process and about her childhood dreams and early career experiences. Her first West End show was Grease, from which she sings ‘Hopelessly devoted to you’, and she has also played both Fantine and Eponine in Les Mis, giving an emotive ‘On my own’. One show that wasn’t so ‘lucky’ for her was Stephen Schwartz’s Wicked, which Sheen auditioned for seven times – her kooky version of Glinda’s ‘Popular’ makes us realise what we missed out on. Mary Poppins was, of course, a great success for Sheen both in the UK and in the US – for this evening she chooses the darker ‘Feed the Birds’.

27 November is a lucky date for Sheen – amongst other things, it was the date she appeared on stage at the opening weekend of the Wales Millennium Centre and the date she was cast in the world premiere of a brand new musical called The Witches of Eastwick. Sheen has long championed new musical work – indeed, her solo album Raise the Curtain was a positive celebration of it. Sheen gave a powerful version of the title song from Adam Guettel’s The Light in the Piazza – a musical she starred in at Leicester Curve – and a dramatic rendering of a song from last year’s Centre musical Only the Brave. Other new work featured included the work of Georgia Stitt and a hilarious song about a valleys girl from Brunger and Cleary’s musical Jet Set Go.

Next up for Sheen is a summer run as Kate in Kiss Me Kate at Kilworth House Theatre. As to the future, another role that is on Sheen’s list is Anna in The King and I – a role which would give her the opportunity to reference her beloved homeland in the line ‘I come from a civilised land called Wales’. With the Wales Millennium Centre’s new cabaret season rapidly gathering steam, it surely won’t be long before she returns.