The most recent episode of the Theatre Channel’s web series is a lovely, lively celebration of the reopening of the West End this week.
It is a show of two halves: first, a set of performances from big names across musical theatre; then a loving look back at A Chorus Line and the work of choreographers Michael Bennett and Bob Avian.
I was delighted to see Amber and Jade Davies performing numbers from the under-appreciated Side Show (about the Hilton sisters, conjoined twins).
The opening song from Theatre Cafe manager Jack Malin with the new Cafe Five (now comprising Anthony Starr, Danny Becker, Kayleigh Thadani, M-Jae Cleopatra Isaac and Vicki Lee Taylor) is point perfect. What is it? Why, ‘There’s No Business Like Show Business’!
The idea that entertainment is back for live audiences to enjoy in an atmosphere of freedom (albeit still masked and distanced) threads through all the performances.
Kerry Ellis gives a stunning performance of ‘Always Starting Over’ (from If/Then), while Layton Williams is touching in Lola’s big number from Kinky Boots.
Danny Mac’s number ‘Moving Too Fast’ from The Last Five Years seems a tongue-in-cheek response to the explosion of creativity within the theatre sector that has characterised the whole of this pandemic, while Katie Deacon simply evokes the relief and happiness of being out in the world.
Locations are very much out and about, as with other instalments of this series, but now there is a sense of places starting to shake off their lockdown stupor and of a footfall of passing trade we have definitely missed this past year.
In terms of the big spectacle shows, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, SIX, Les Misérables The Concert and ABBA Mania are all currently running, with Nimax venues showcasing a number of shows from upcoming producers including Katy Lipson (Cruise) and Adam Lenson (Public Domain).
The Theatre Channel is is directed by Thom Southerland with musical supervision by Michael England, choreography by Ashley Nottingham, lighting design by Aaron Dootson, production design by James Turner, videography by Ben Hewis and sound design by Keegan Curran. It is produced by Adam Blanshay and the Theatre Cafe.
Access episode 6 and the previous five episodes now via stream.theatre. Showstoppers costs £12 plus booking fee, with previous episodes available on demand for £9.50. Episode 7 has been announced as a Rodgers and Hammerstein special.
Image credit: Edward Johnson
LouReviews received complimentary access to review The Theatre Channel Showstoppers.
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