Together at Woolwich Warehouse, a line-up of West End regulars swap their usual, familiar stages for a more intimate venue where they perform a series of gentle acoustic covers.
The six singers all lend their idyllic voices to the songs, and they blend wondrously in the duets. Grace Mouat and Courtney Stapleton harmonise with each other particularly well, soothing any listening ear in their rendition of ‘Teach You’.
Eloise Davies and Martha Kirby’s mellifluous collaboration on ‘Don’t Make It Harder on Me’ is another highlight, and it looks like the pair are having genuine fun as they simultaneously hit their notes. Similarly, Danielle Flamanya and Jake Halsey-Jones have great vocal chemistry in ‘Never Too Much’, and their animated performances show them both getting caught up in the groove.
Despite being pitched as something for theatre lovers, with many eye-catching musical credits referenced after each cast member, the piece fails to deliver on the assumed inclusion of ‘soft’ versions of showtunes.
The songs that do feature sound first-rate because of Alex Beetschen and Harrison Wilde’s orchestration, but some musical numbers would not have gone amiss in the otherwise one-note selection of R&B and soul tracks.
It is also difficult to understand how the act of singing in a small, secluded space is taking ‘a group of major West End performers’ out of their comfort zones. This is a relaxed gig for all parties involved.
From Mouat’s ‘Happy Together/My Lovely Valentine’ to Kirby’s ‘Resentment’, the solos also offer some sweet, easy listening.
Other than close ups of some leafy house plants and Halsey Jones’ E.T. dungarees, there is not a lot to look at in Soft Sessions. It could have easily been produced as a podcast, providing pleasant background music while reading or enjoying a chilled drink or two.
Certain outfits could be jazzier: where slow, mellow-sounding songs are performed by artists dressed almost fully in black, it’s hard to shake off the mild funeral vibes.
As far as concerts go, Soft Sessions is perhaps the calmest sort there is!
Playing on stream.theatre until the 2nd May 2021 https://tinyurl.com/254buuvs
Reviewer: Scot Cunningham
Reviewed: 22nd April 2021
North West End UK Rating: ★★★