Rachel Tucker proved to be a showgirl with many different musical styles at the Gate Arts Centre in Cardiff tonight in the second of a 13-date UK concert tour which opened in her native Belfast and plays Live at Zedel for three nights in early June. Tucker is one of the more successful alumni of the BBC’s I’d do Anything search for a Nancy in Lionel Bart’s Oliver!, but it’s testament to her success since then that the show barely had a mention. Tucker’s biggest stage success, of course, was as a long-running Elphaba in Stephen Schwartz’s Wicked in both the West End and on Broadway. But in this solo tour Tucker proves that there is a lot more to her than her musical theatre roles, singing a wide variety of numbers from musicals to rock, pop, jazz and standards in her own inimitable style.

Tucker has a real ease on stage, and in this venue (a converted church) she frequently gets up close to the audience, some of whom were seated on cabaret-style seating at the front. Opening the show with a confident and vibrant ‘Miss Otis Regrets’ which was swiftly followed by ‘The Candy Man’, Tucker and her musical director Kris Rawlinson put a different slant on some well-known numbers. Who would have thought that Lionel Bart’s ‘Where is love’ would work so well up-tempo and with real swing – Tucker uses it as a playful plea to find an attractive male in the audience.

Lesser known musical numbers also feature – the best of these is Sara Bareilles’ moving ‘She used to be mine’ from the new Broadway musical Waitress about an abused and pregnant woman who finds joy from baking pies. Hopefully Waitress will find its way to a West End theatre soon – Tucker would surely be in contention for the lead if it does.

Tucker invites several special guests to each venue on the tour. It was Cardiff’s good fortune to have the recent Olivier award winner Rebecca Trehearn (from Show Boat) to duet with Tucker on a jazzy ‘That’s life’ and a ‘mash-up’ of ‘The way we were’ and ‘What I did for love’ which was pure musical theatre leading lady heaven. Trehearn also scores in her own solo spot with a Johnny Mitchell inspired song from Jason Robert Brown’s The Bridges of Madison County.

Proving that she is at home singing many different styles, Tucker’s programme ranges from rocking it up as Tina Turner to traditional musical comedy (On The Town’s ‘I Can Cook Too’) and a spine-chilling dramatic interpretation of Judy Garland’s iconic ‘The Man That Got Away’. A local theatre school join her on stage for an ensemble version of ‘For Good’ from Wicked but inevitably, it’s Tucker’s fine-tuned ‘Defying Gravity’ that earns – and deserves – an instant standing ovation. Tucker follows this with Elton John’s ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’ – a nod to moving on to new horizons. With a move back to New York in September, Tucker looks set to take Broadway and the West End by storm in whatever project comes her way next.