After a highly successful debut, Episode 2 of The Theatre Channel arrives and things have gone a bit Strictly with a theme week. Natch it is Hallowe’en that acts as a linking thread between the performances here but unlike Strictly, it is pleasingly effective as the production design (by Gregor Donnelly) gets to play with a more cohesive visual language across the show (credit too to director Bill Deamer and DP Ben Hewis), and the song selection gets to go a bit dark and dramatic.
That’s not to say that there’s not a variety of tone here. As befits this holiday, there’s a healthy dose of camp as a CGI-enhanced Ria Jones casts her spell over Into the Woods’ ‘Last Midnight’ and the camp drama of Frank Wildhorn’s ‘Life After Life’ from Dracula the Musical is well served by the relatively straight bat and sensational voices of Bradley Jaden and Sophie Isaacs. The same goes for Josh Piterman’s dangerously seductive take on ‘The Confrontation’ from Jekyll and Hyde.
There’s out-and-out froofery from the highly appealing Jordan Shaw with a skip through ‘Transylvania Mania’ from Young Frankenstein, further enlivened by a tap break and some indecent hip thrusts. And also with the pelvis, Trevor Dion Nicholas’ ‘The Time Warp’ – with super special guest! – is the customary riotous ball of fun it should be – both these numbers ably assisted by the talented Café Four ensemble of Alyn Hawke, Emily Langham, Sadie-Jean Shirley and Alex Woodward and Diana Hudson’s excellent hair and make-up.
The show’s coup comes with a spine-tingling performance from Linzi Hateley to returns to the musical in which she made her debut in 1988 – Carrie. This time around, she’s taking on the role of the mother rather than the daughter as she delivers a haunting ‘When There Is No One’ whose mood of despondency feels somewhat apposite at this moment in time. The whole show clocks in at around 25 minutes and as you can watch it as many times as you want, it feels like the right kind of investment for lockdown #2.