Anyone visiting London for some musical theatre magic will have likely stumbled across The Theatre Café, the West End’s best-loved stagey coffee shop. In association with Adam Blanshay Productions, it’s now offering an access-all-areas peek behind the curtains as part of The Theatre Channel, a new web series brimming with all-singing, all-dancing performances filmed on location.
Freddie Fox introduces Week Five- The Classics of Broadway- with excerpts from ‘Willkommen’ and ‘Money’ from Cabaret. He dominates the auditorium with an eerie presence: fitting choreography from Bill Deamer, also directing the episode, sees Fox crawling over the seats and making it rain from the Dress Circle. While his wide eyes and sinister grin replicate the original Emcee, his tattered outfit screamed ‘caught in a goth mosh pit’ rather than Master of Ceremonies.
On the coffee shop floor, The Café Four offer a frothy rendition of ‘Coffee Break’, featured in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Their overdramatic facial expressions come off stronger than a quadruple espresso. Alyn Hawke and Emily Langham later split from the group to perform a toe-tapping duet of ‘Put On A Happy Face’ from Bye Bye Birdie, in which their smooth, gentle voices really blend well together.
Bonnie Langford takes a break from her coffee-sipping to serve up the episode’s highlight in a dazzling staging of ‘I Get a Kick Out of You’, an Anything Goes number. With a cheeky wink, smile and some flexible moves, Langford belts out this 1930s showtune with theatrical posters both past and present featuring in the background. She subtly nods to them as videographer Ben Hewis ensures to call attention to as many as possible in the shot.
Backstage, Gary Wilmot delivers a calm and collected take on Guys and Dolls classic ‘Luck be a Lady’, while elsewhere Mazz Murray revives the Gypsy showstopper ‘Everything’s Coming Up Roses’.
Conscientious musical supervision from Michael England as well as Keegan Curran’s sound design ensures a consistent, high-quality audio experience. At times, it feels like you’re sitting in a front row seat with a coffee and a cake.
The Classics of Broadway concludes outside the National Theatre with Marisha Wallace’s beautiful cover of ‘Somewhere’ from West Side Story. Though the singing is stellar, Wallace’s cloud-white dress often gets lost in the capital’s skyline, and a frequently spinning camera is more dizzying than ten trips around the London Eye. Overall, though, a time-honoured treat for musical lovers of all ages. https://www.thetheatrecafe.co.uk/channel/
Reviewer: Scot Cunningham
Reviewed: 27th February 2021
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★