The Theatreguide.London Review
In March 2020 the covid-19 epidemic
closure of all British theatres. Some companies adapted by putting
archive recordings of past productions online, others by streaming new
shows. Until things return to normal we review the experience of
watching live theatre
Kings Of Broadway 2020
broadwayworld.com and YouTube Summer 2020
On the model of the
Sondheim Birthday Tribute, this charity concert features a few dozen
singers and musicians each performing in the one uncluttered corner
of their homes.
The theme is a salute to
Jule Styne, Jerry Herman and
Stephen Sondheim, though the effect is more of a random collection of
show tunes, justified by their inherent quality more than any serious
The whole is compered by
musical director and
occasional piano accompanist Alex Parker, who also provides the
unobtrusive requests for charity contributions.
As in any anthology,
everyone will have different favourites, and the comments on the
YouTube page show that even the singers I found least impressive had
their own fans.
Certainly things get off
to a great start with the
multi-screen performance of the Overture to Gypsy (surely one of
Broadway's greatest overtures). After that, Emma Kingston channels
the young Streisand in I'm The Greatest Star, while a little later on
Caroline Sheen sings People as if she had never heard of Barbra –
and both approaches work beautifully.
Janie Dee manages to
Passion's Loving You of all overtones of obsession to reveal a simple
little love song there, and Lucy Schauer effortlessly finds all the
poignant beauty in Styne's Time After Time (one of several songs in
the show that might inspire a delighted 'I didn't know he wrote
Samantha Spiro does an understated His Is The Only Music, Ramin Karimloo a dramatic Being Alive, and although she starts slow Louise Dearman builds to the full heartbreak of Losing My Mind.
On the other hand Michael Colbourne, singing a split-screen trio of You Could Drive A Person Crazy with himself, stretches the concept of harmony, and Michael Xavier is upstaged by his dog, totally unimpressed by Xavier's I Won't Send Roses.
Near the end host Alex
Parker pauses to acknowledge the current racial demonstrations in the
USA, leading to the powerful multi-screen recitation of a Maya
Angelou poem and giving an unexpected subtext to Clive Rowe's
melancholic The Party's Over.
There's a number by a
group from Guildford, and things end with the staff of a Sainsbury's
doing full justice to the exquisite harmonies of Sondheim's Sunday.
As I suggested in my review of the Sondheim Birthday show, we may be witnessing the birth of a new theatrical form in the from-our-homes Zoom concert.
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