Saturday, June 15

Musical Horrors – The Theatre Channel

This series of productions was put together in October 2020 and consists of a number of episodes divided into different themes. Following on from the introductory “Welcome to the Café” itself, episode 2 is subtitled “Musical Horrors” and consists of songs from some of the world’s best shows with a bit of a horror theme, including Young Frankenstein, Beetlejuice, Into the Woods and of course the Rocky Horror Show. The line-up of talent in this production was nothing short of spectacular with a cast made up of well-known performers from the world of musical theatre, ably augmented by the resident “Café Four” (Alyn Hawke, Emily Langham, Sadie-Jean Shirley and Alex Woodward) whose energy and enthusiasm perfectly complimented the lead singers. As there was only a small number of songs in this production, it would be easiest if I just give a brief critique of each one.

The show opened with Jordan Shaw and the Café Four performing “Transylvania Mania” from Mel Brooks “Young Frankenstein” and what an opening it was. This number had for me the best choreography of the night and showed off the talents of the performers to their best. A very energetic performance which took us all around the Theatre Café which was a perfect backdrop for this number.

This was followed by the amazingly talented Aimie Atkinson who managed to come up with a tremendous performance of “Dead Mum” from “Beetlejuice” when she was singing to a bunch of dead flowers! Many similarities to another song from this show, “Home”, which also has a considerable amount of dark humour within the lyrics, whether intentional or not. Aimie has given a brilliant rendition of this song.

Next was the one musical of the evening which I have to confess I was not familiar with. This was the song “Life after Life” from the Don Black / Frank Wildhorn / Christopher Hampton show “Dracula the Musical” performed by Sophie Isaacs and Bradley Jaden, who for me gave the outstanding vocal performance of the whole night. The combination of a queen of England and a French revolutionary certainly worked for me.

Up next was the fantastic Ria Jones who gave us her own rendition of “Last Midnight” from Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods”, the Meryl Streep number which I believe Ria has herself performed as the witch on stage. This was a great production of this song and Ria gives an outstanding performance.

Josh Piterman was the next performer, giving us a charismatic performance of both roles in Leslie Bricausse / Frank Wildhorn / Steve Cuden’s musical, “Jekyll and Hyde” singing “Confrontation”. Singing 2 roles without any editing of the performance must have been very challenging and Josh did an excellent job with this.

This was followed by the incomparable Linzi Hateley who was the original “Carrie” in the Broadway production and this time she took on the role of Margaret (Carrie’s mother) singing “When there’s no-one”. Her voice is up there with the very best performers within the Musical Theatre genre.

The finale to this production came in the form of the very strong voice of Trevor Dion Nicholas and the Café Four leading the ensemble in, perhaps predictably, that number from Richard O’Brien’s “Rocky Horror Show”, the classic “Time Warp”. It even had a guest appearance from Bonnie Langford! A highly infectious performance to end a brilliant set of numbers pulled together by the production team.

The show finished with an in-depth interview with Linzi Hateley where she gave us an insight into her role in “Carrie” on Broadway; interesting and entertaining.

Although the performance ran for less than half an hour, the quality of all those taking part was absolutely top notch and I can unreservedly recommend this show to all musical theatre fans. It was very professionally put together by Bill Deamer as we have come to expect from a man of his talents and experience. If you get the opportunity, watch this show, you won’t regret it.

Reviewer: David S. Clarke.                                        

Reviewed: 29th January 2021

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★★