27 November 2020

The Theatre Channel Episode 3 Review

Following on from the success of the two episodes (all 3 episodes are available to stream from here) Adam Blanshay Productions and The Theatre Cafe bring us the third episode of The Theatre Channel series with this time themed as the rock episode.


What works best with this series is that intimacy of the numbers. In a post watch Q and A producer, Adam Blanshay and director Bill Deamer discussed how they don't stage the numbers to play to the camera but to the audience. That is really captured excellently in these episodes. Alex Gaumond described it as having "dialogue with the audience". You get to feel a deeper connection to these numbers because of the way they are staged and filmed. 


Francesca Jackson. Photo by Edward Johnson

The whole team who have come together in these challenge times and are continuing to make magnificent work must be credited. The use of The Theatre Cafe is brilliant, creatively the team manage to set each piece in a unique way befitting of each number. It's keeping that spirit of the West End alive for the audience. 


This wonderful diverse Rock-themed episode opens with Cafe Four (Alyn Hawke, Emily Langham, Sadie-Jean Shirley and Alex Woodward) performing the hypnotic Aquarius from Hair. Director and choreographer Bill Deamer's movement is performed by this talented foursome really well particularly in this number.


Francesca Jackson backed by Cafe Four sings Forgiven from Jagged Little Pill. This number particularly captures that emotion of a number. It's superbly staged both on the doorstep of and inside The Theatre Cafe and sung with great feeling. 


Rob Houchen. Photo by Edward Johnson.


Rob Houchen powerfully sings Gethsemane from Jesus Christ Superstar. This number takes the audience outside The Theatre Cafe and uses the sights of Trafalgar Square as the backdrop. It meant filming the number at 5am on a freezing cold morning for the team but the payoff is some fantastic visual shots. Whether it's shots of the National Gallery or on the steps of St Martin-in-the-Fields church, the use of the space and the camera by videographer Ben Hewis is outstanding. 


Aisha Jawando sings The Acid Queen from The Who's Tommy. Much credit must go to Jack Weir's outstanding lighting design throughout the episodes but particularly in this number. Aisha, who is the current Tina Turner in Tina: The Musical is a fantastic performer to watch as she effortlessly sings and dances this number.


Alex Gaumond sings Le Monde est Stone from Starmania. This French number falls perfectly into Alex's vocal range. Alex himself being from Canada talked about how this show was his first real connection into musical theatre. You can really feel that connection that Alex has with the song as he sings Luc Plamondon's stunning lyrics. There's a lovely interview with Alex and Luc after the credits that you should stick around for.


Alex Gaumond. Photo by Edward Johnson.

Shan Ako, backed by Cafe Four, sings the stunning I'll Cover You (Reprise) from Rent. The performer who made her West End breakthrough in the Les Miserables Staged Concert's last year sings this number with real heart. The number in the context of the Rent falls at Angel's funeral after his death and is particularly moving and Shan gives a beautiful rendition.


John Owen Jones brings the episode to a close with Pity The Child from Chess. As you'd expect from one of the best leading men around, John sings with great power. Here is a performer who always gives his everything and that shows anytime you watch him. A class act and a tremendous way to wrap up the episode.


Shan Ako and Cafe Four. Photo by Edward Johnson.

Once again much credit must go to the creative team, Bill Deamer's direction and choreography, Gregor Donnelly's costume, Jack Weir's atmospheric lighting, Keegan Curran's strong sound design and Michael England's musical direction all contribute to making the whole episode a delight to watch and listen too. Ben Hewis continues his outstanding videography.


It's another delightful 30 minutes of theatrical escapism that any theatre fan will love. As Bill Deamer said afterwards "the need for live theatre mustn't be forgotten" and whilst we can't all be in theatres this is a lovely way to keep the fire of the theatrical flame burning. Absolutely fantastic.


Purchase episode three (and the previous two episodes) now from https://www.thetheatrecafe.co.uk/channel/


John Owen Jones. Photo by Edward Johnson.


1 comment

  1. Hello. Thank you so much for the credit but I’m afraid I did not do Hair and Makeup on this episode. I will be back for the next one! Thanks so much! Diana Estrada Hudson

    ReplyDelete

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