Thursday, February 29

Monday Night at the Apollo – Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue

One positive that has come out of theatres being closed? Line ups like this evening that probably wouldn’t have happened had we not had lockdown and the closing of theatres. It’s about the only good thing I can think of – that and the streaming of shows, such as this one, that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to get to!

This powerhouse quintet is enough to cheer anyone up after a miserable Monday and worth the ticket price alone. Billed as an intimate evening of conversation and song filled with an eclectic mix of music from the performers’ favourite genres, the night definitely did not disappoint. The first act felt like it got off to a slow start and that it was going to be an evening more about the talking than the singing, but after each performer had sung once and chatted with host Greg Barnett, the evening seemed to pick up more and, especially in the second act, we got to witness more of the voices we were here to see, with smaller bursts of conversation in between. It was an interesting evening filled with personal anecdotes from the performers and was a great way to learn about performers you’ve not really encountered before (Julian Ovenden and Cedric Neal for me) and learn more about ones you’ve seen in various guises (Aimie Atkinson, Cassidy Janson and Lucie Jones). All with the added bonus of also getting to hear them sing too, sometimes on their own, sometimes in duets and there was even a trio to round off the evening.

Photo: Danny Kaan

The set was effective, putting us at ease and reminding us of a TV talk show with a house band, with appropriate lighting. It was also really nice that it had an actual audience at long last – the in-house audience definitely added to the ambience and made the evening, that extra-touch more enjoyable! Just hearing a live audience react to the beginning and end of a performance, even if you couldn’t include your own enthusiasm to the volume, was a magical evening after so long without live audiences. Here’s hoping we can all be sat together in a theatre soon!

Overall, it was a clearly thought out, joyful evening and if the calibre of artists on future evenings under the umbrella of Monday Night at the Apollo are as powerful and entertaining as this one, then they should become a staple to your theatrical diary. Hopefully it will continue to run, past the three months currently scheduled!

Reviewer: Jenn McKean

Reviewed: 24th May 2021

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★

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