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Musical Theatre Web Series Review: Rock-Themed Episode Three of London’s “The Theatre Channel” to Be Released November 27, 2020

Musical Theatre Web Series Review: Rock-Themed Episode Three of London’s “The Theatre Channel” to Be Released November 27, 2020
Direction and Choreography by Bill Dreamer
Reviewed by David Roberts
Theatre Reviews Limited

“The Theatre Channel” is a brand-new web series showcasing well-known musical theatre classics - a unique hybrid of stage and screen. Performed by British and international musical theatre talent, each episode is staged and filmed with high production values on location at The Theatre Café in the heart of the West End, making full use of the whole space – from the bar seating area all the way up to the roof - and feature a mix of 5-6 standalone performances, ordinarily set in a café, bar or restaurant. Many of the performances are supported by the “Café Four,” a regular cast made up of other West End talents.

The first thirty-minute Episode launched on Friday, October 2 featured Tarinn Callender, Carrie Hope Fletcher, Oliver Ormson, Matt Henry MBE, Lucie Jones, Jenna Russell, and Jodie Steele singing six songs from an eclectic mix of West End hits. Tarinn Callender sang “On Broadway” from “Smokey Joe’s Café” (West End 1966). Lucie Jones sang “Maybe This Time” from “Cabaret” (West End 1968). Carrie Hope Fletcher and Oliver Ormson sang “Suddenly Seymour” from “Little Shop of Horrors” (West End 1983). Jodie Steele rendered a music video style “Heaven on Their Minds” from “Jesus Christ Superstar” (West End 1972). Olivier Award Winner’s Matt Henry MBE and Jenna Russell sang, respectively, “Let it Sing” from “Violet” (Off-West End 2019) and the stunning “Ladies Who Lunch” from “Company” (West End 1972).

Launched on October 30, the second Episode in the Web Series is “Halloween Themed” and features seven “spooky” songs from London West End’s magical to macabre repertoire. The Café Four join Jordan Shaw in a fully staged rendition of “Transylvania Mania” from Mel Brooks’s “Young Frankenstein” (West End 2017). Like this first performance, the remaining six are staged and choreographed by director Bill Deamer. Each is successfully augmented by Gregor Donnelly’s set and costume design, Jack Weir’s lighting, Keegan Curran’s sound, Ben Hewis’s videography, and Diana Hudson’s hair and makeup design – the creative team for the entire Web Series. Standouts in this second Episode include: “Life After Life” from “Dracula the Musical” (The Lower Pavilion 2010) sung by Bradley Jaden and Sophie Isaacs; Trevor Dion Nicholas’s energetic rendition of “The Time Warp” from “The Rocky Horror Show” (West End 1973); and “The Confrontation” from “Jekyll and Hyde” (UK Tour 2004) sung by Josh Piterman.

Those wishing to view the November 27 release of Episode Three “The Rock Episode” should visit the Web Series website at www.thetheatrecafe.co.uk/channel. This Episode will feature Shan Ako, Alex Gaumond, Rob Houchen, Francesca Jackson, Aisha Jawando, and John Owen-Jones performing rock classics from “Rent,” “Starmania,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Jagged Little Pill,” “The Who’s Tommy,” and “Chess.”

“The Theatre Channel” provides a welcomed addition to the pandemic-era theatre performances on ZOOM, YouTube, and a host of theatre-related streaming sites. Its varied performances are reminiscent of the exhilarating performances of the past that drew patrons to gather together and share live theatre, and provide a pleasing pathway to the future when theatre venues worldwide can open their doors to audiences longing for a healthy and safe future for the arts.

LONDON’S “THE THEATRE CHANNEL” EPISODES

“The Theatre Channel’s” Café Four is comprised of Alyn Hawke (“Oklahoma,” “Follies,” “42nd Street”), Emily Langham (“The Boy Friend,” “Oklahoma,” “West Side Story”), Sadie-Jean Shirley (“City of Angels,” “Ghost: The Musical,” “Aladdin”) and Alex Woodward (“Mamma Mia,” “Hairspray”).

The Theatre Channel is produced by Adam Blanshay Productions and The Theatre Café, with direction and choreography by Bill Deamer and musical supervision by Michael England, set and costume design by Gregor Donnelly, lighting design by Jack Weir, sound design by Keegan Curran, videography by Ben Hewis and hair and makeup by Diana Hudson.

Episodes are available to purchase and download via www.thetheatrecafe.co.uk/channel – once purchased, audiences are able to watch episodes unlimited times.

Photo: Trevor Dion Nicholas and Café Four in “The Time Warp” from “The Rocky Horror Show.”

Photo by Edward Johnson.


Permalink | Posted by David Roberts on Sunday, November 22, 2020