If ever there was a year when we all truly needed the joy, sparkle and merriment of Christmas then surely this is it?! Hoping to tap in to this collective need of the nation is We Need a Little Christmas, streaming from virtual venue Stream.Theatre. Filmed this month at The Actor’s Church in Covent Garden it sees a collection of West End stars perform Christmas inspired songs or readings.
The Actor’s Church itself, a fantastic little venue right on the piazza, is bedecked in all it’s Christmas finery, with decorated trees and tantalisingly wrapped gifts serving as the backdrop for most of the performances. It’s almost entirely a musical concert, but there’s a charming Dickens story told by Simon Callow and a comedy skit from Maureen Lipman, strategically placed to break up the choral offerings.
At first it all feels rather special, like these stars of theatre are performing a very unique carol concert just for you at home, and in a way they are. It does become slightly repetitive though, in that the choice of songs mostly tend to fall in to that melancholic Christmas category; ‘Silent Night’, ‘Christmas Lights’ and ‘O Holy Night’ to name just a few.
Kevin Clifton’s superbly upbeat ‘Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree’ comes fairly early on and gives us a bit of hope for a more jolly repertoire, but we have to wait for The Vivienne’s ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ and Cassidy Janson’s ‘Santa Baby’ to have our spirits lifted, briefly, again.
The performances in We Need a Little Christmas, as you would expect from the calibre of performers, are all excellent. David Bedella’s ‘I’ll Be Home for Christmas’ is especially moving, particularly in the present circumstances, while Sheila Ferguson’s ‘The Christmas Song’ is another high point.
The West End Gospel Choir join Lee Mead for ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’ before giving us their own wonderful interpretation of ‘Jesus Oh What a Wonderful Child’. Mead returns to close the concert with his own recently released Christmas single, ‘In My Arms for Christmas’, with this performance filmed in the streets of London, it’s definitely an ideal finale.
We Need a Little Christmas brings us a plethora of well-known names and stunning performances of classic Christmas tunes. While the Christmas we all need is probably one that’s merry and carefree, this concert has chosen to strike a more reflective tone.
We Need A Little Christmas streams Sunday 20th December – Friday 1st January 2020. Tickets can be purchased online at www.stream.theatre