When Tonight at The London Coliseum was first announced, the country was in the midst of the first national lockdown, and many of us wondered if we’d see the inside of a theatre again this year. As the filmed concert series returns for an ‘encore’ run on Stream.Theatre, large swathes of the country continue to face tough restrictions, meaning that even the theatres which can open will do so at vastly reduced capacity.
For audiences still housebound, either through government mandate or personal choice, this series of seven filmed concerts from the stage of the London Coliseum provide a connection to the magic of live performance that so many of us continue to crave. Six of the concerts see West End stars perform a repertoire of music that has some personal significance to them, whilst the seventh showcases a new British musical.
After You is a two hander by Alex Parker and Katie Lam which see a couple meet, and fall in love, on board a transatlantic cruise liner. Directed by Jordan Murphy, it may be a fraction short for us to really get to grips with the characters but the songs show remarkable promise, and the performances from Alex Khadime and Bradley Jaden give us a good glimpse of what could be when this new musical inevitably finds its own stage.
Sharon D.Clarke, who has picked up an Olivier Award since the concert was filmed, brings us an eclectic set list that encompasses everything from hit musical Hairspray to a Shirley Bassey Bond classic. Clarke shares many personal life stories between each song, which often relate to the state the world finds itself in today. Clarke sings Caron Wheeler’s ‘Don’t Quit’, not only is it one of the most stunning performances of the whole series, it also provides an important message that we can all heed in the current climate.
As a self-confessed musical theatre fan, Carrie Hope Fletcher gives us a set list comprised of musical theatre treasures. Her own career defining roles, such as those in Heathers and Les Misérables feature, but so too do songs from Beetlejuice and Anastasia. Oliver Ormson joins his partner on stage for part of the concert, giving us two wonderful duets, including a superb version of ‘You Matter to Me’ from Waitress.
There’s a marked change in tone as Kerry Ellis begins her concert, bringing much more of a rock vibe to Tonight at The London Coliseum. Opening with an absolutely stunning rendition of ‘Your Song’, Ellis goes on to wow us with songs like ‘Who Wants to Live Forever’ and ‘A Million Dreams’ from The Greatest Showman, before putting her own rock inspired twist on ‘She Used to be Mine’ and ‘Into The Unknown’. Accompanied by a fantastic band, Kerry Ellis’s concert is the one not to be missed.
There’s a similar theme from Sharon Sexton and Rob Fowler’s turn on the stage, the couple worked together in Bat Out of Hell, which also ran at the Coliseum, so they were able to share some intriguing stories from backstage, as well as being joined by Christina Bennington for a couple of spirited Bat Out of Hell numbers. Sexton and Fowler also share songs from their musical theatre careers past, and the blend of solos and duets makes it one of the most irresistible of the series.
Cassidy Janson, who has also won an Olivier since recording, is another highlight of Tonight at The London Coliseum. In a set characterised by gentle ballads, Janson is phenomenal, giving us songs at the piano from her stint in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical as well as a number from her Leading Ladies album. It’s when she sings ‘That’s The Way It Is’, her song from &Juliet, that the silence from the missing audience is most deafening, a performance as accomplished as this deserves an ovation.
While all the performers have put their own stamp on the songs they sing, Ramin Karimloo takes it to another level with a set list you’ll want to listen to over and over again. Favourites from Phantom and Les Mis feature, but we also get some of Karimloo’s own music, with ‘Constant Angel’ a particular high point. Playing guitar and piano, that sumptuous voice that could melt the hardest of hearts, reminds us all what we are missing in the West End right now.
Tonight at The London Coliseum is exquisite in every way; elegant lighting, pitch perfect sound and exemplary videography. With the auditorium serving as a backdrop it demonstrates the tragedy of our beautiful theatres lying empty, while at the same time unequivocally proving that the industry is very much alive. Allowing us to see masters of their craft up close and personal, Tonight at The London Coliseum is a unique and unmissable theatrical event.
Tonight at The London Coliseum begins its encore run on Stream.Theatre on 30th November 2020.
Sharon D.Clarke – Monday 30th November 2020 at 7.30pm
Cassidy Janson – Tuesday 1st December 2020 at 7.30pm
Kerry Ellis – Wednesday 2nd December 2020 at 7.30pm
Rob Fowler and Sharon Sexton – Thursday 3rd December 2020 at 7.30pm
Carrie Hope Fletcher – Friday 4th December 2020 at 7.30pm
Ramin Karimloo – Saturday 5th December 2020 at 7.30pm
After You – Sunday 6th December 2020 at 2.30pm and 7.30pm