2 October 2020

The Theatre Channel Episode One Review

Adam Blanshay Productions and The Theatre Cafe have teamed up for an exciting new series of streamed concerts filmed in and around The Theatre Cafe in the heart of London's West End. Each concert consists of a line up of West End stars performing well-known musical theatre classics. I was fortunate enough to be able to review the first episode which launches today and is available to watch from https://www.thetheatrecafe.co.uk/channel/

Cafe Four. Photo by Edward Johnson.


The episode opens with the title credits featuring Cafe Four, this assembled group will support the performances and consists of Alyn Hawke, Emily Langham, Sadie-Jean Shirley and Alex Woodward. The titles lead in the opening number 'Coffee In A Cardboard Cup' from And The World Goes 'Round by Kander and Ebb. This brilliantly appropriate number couldn't be more appropriate for the setting inside the Cafe. It's an upbeat peppy opening performed with great enthusiasm by these wonderful performers.


Tarinn Callender (Come From Away, Hamilton) brings 'On Broadway' from Smokey Joe's Cafe. This number suits Tarinn's silky smooth vocals. Close your eyes and he sounds like a younger Gregory Porter. 


Tarinn Callender. Photo by Edward Johnson

Following Tarinn is Lucie Jones who sings 'Maybe This Time' from Cabaret. She stands as the Theatre is all packed up for the night staring and hoping it will be her time. She acts and sings the number with tremendous skill. 


With the cafe seemingly transformed into a florists, real life couple of Carrie Hope Fletcher and Oliver Ormson sing up a storm together with their rendition of 'Suddenly Seymour' from Little Shop of Horrors. Ormson's geekish looks and Hope Fletcher's powerful vocals combine well together. Next time the show is revived (hopefully soon!) they'd make great casting in these roles.


Oliver Ormson and Carrie Hope Fletcher. Photo by Edward Johnson

We head to the building's roof for Jodie Steele's leather-clad rendition of 'Heaven on Their Minds' from Jesus Christ Superstar. Her rock vocals suit this number well and she gives it all her gusto, although I found the music did overpower her a couple of times during the number.  


Back inside we go with Matt Henry's rendition of 'Let It Sing' from Violet. Matt is a fabulous performer, as anyone who has seen in him in Kinky Boots will know. He skillfully moved around the place and his voice is a joy to listen too. 'You've Got The Let It Sing' Matt sings with magnificent talent. This was probably my favourite of all the numbers in this episode.


Matt Henry. Photo by Edward Johnson

The finale is given to the always classy Jenna Russell sings 'The Ladies Who Lunch' from Company. Her class and quality shine out. She doesn't just sing a number she feels it, she acts it, she embodies the characters she plays. You can put your feet up and just soak up her talent and enjoy as she wraps up this promising first episode.


The production values are a joy. With Bill Deamer's superb direction and choreography, the whole production has been gorgeously shot by Ben Hewis. The videography captures the space and the mood of the numbers brilliantly. Jack Weir's atmospheric lighting and Gregor Donnelly's set and costume design turn the cafe into a great performance space. Michael England's music supervision allows the number to sound as fresh as ever.


Jenna Russell. Photo by Edward Johnson

It's a hugely delightful 30 minutes of theatre joy. The kind of joy that we've all missed during this year. Incredible talented indivudals all coming together to combine to make something that is every theatre fans dream. Joyous, settle down with cake and a hot brew for 30 minutes of high quality musical theatre enjoyment.


The Theatre Channel's first episode is avalable to purchase and download now from https://www.thetheatrecafe.co.uk/channel/. The second episode will launch on 30th October and is Halloween Themed and will star Linzi Hateley, Sophie Isaacs, Bradley Jaden, Josh Piterman and Aimie Atkinson. 

Lucie Jones. Photo by Edward Johnson.


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