The Theatre Channel, Episode One | Review


Innovation is coursing through the theatre community, as new ideas and ways to spread the joy of performance are brought to life everyday. One of these ways is the new brainchild of The Theatre Café and Adam Blanshay Productions: The Theatre Channel.

The channel is a series of musical episodes which celebrate the all-singing, all-dancing joy of theatre as well as showcasing fantastic performers and the café itself. Each episode is roughly half an hour long and features a different group of stage stars, as well as the Café Four (Alyn Hawke, Emily Langham, Sadie-Jean Shirley and Alex Woodwardwho appear in each episode as a sort of omnipresent group of musical theatre muses. The performers are encouraged to perform songs or roles they've not previously had the chance to, which leads to an eclectic episode of musical excellence.

The first episode opens with the café four performing the very fitting Coffee in a Cardboard Cup, in which they use pretty much the entirety of the  café to showcase their vocal, dance and acting skills; they're definitely a talented bunch! From then Tarinn Callender takes us on a soulful journey with On Broadway and Lucie Jones serves her stunning, clear-as-glass vocals with a brilliant rendition of Maybe This Time. Amongst an abundance of flowers, Carrie Hope Fletcher and Oliver Ormson bring the classic duet, Suddenly Seymour to life brilliantly. Jodie Steele takes things up an octave (and a level) as she gives a gender-switched version of Heaven on Their Minds from the roof of the cafe, which oozes sass and strength. Rounding off the episode, Matt Henry is smooth and oh so stirring with Let It Sing from Violet and Jenna Russell is completely excellent in every way with Sondheim's Ladies Who Lunch.


Whilst of course the performances are uniformly wonderful, it's the production value which really makes this series worth the hype. Ben Hewis' outstanding videography is sleek, high quality and just beautifully shot; and alongside Bill Deamer's choreography-which is astoundingly bold for happening in such a small space- the whole thing feels much more cinematic than any of the online theatrical offerings so far.

The creative team clearly have a strong vision and there's no doubt that each episode is going to be a step bigger and bolder. With themed episodes in the works including the upcoming Halloween episode, there are sure to be surprises galore. With everything from the vocals to the finished product being recorded on the premises, this really is a celebration of not only theatre and performance, but the Theatre Café itself where the arts still has the space to thrive, even when performances themselves are few and far between.

With a great team behind it, this series is a treat for those missing theatre and a gem of an online offering. Once purchased for £12 you have unlimited access to the episode so you can relive the stagey goodness time and time again. So grab your laptop and take yourself on a virtual trip to the theatre.

★★★★★


No comments