A Love Letter to Theatre | Review By Lewis C. Baird

Digital performances are becoming the new norm, as great as some of them are, the urge to return to our theatres grows. A Little Company brings us some content to help our urges in the shape of their digital fundraiser ‘A Love Letter to Theatre’. This is available from 14th – 21st Feb for a donation which goes to Acting for Others and A Little Company. 

The company open this showcase with a performance of ‘Some Things Never Change’ from the most successful animated film of all time, ‘Frozen 2’. This is a lovely performance and is filmed so well, it’s a very upbeat and cheesy (we need a bit of cheese right now) start to this production. Chris McLeish, Matt Howells and Sally Swanson then bring us a medley of some of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s most famous love songs. These songs are performed superbly by Chris, Matt and Sally. The control, precision and skill shown through this performance displays these artist’s talents excellently. 

Richard Dalrymple performs ‘Corner of the Sky’ from ‘Pippin’ so sweetly and delicately. The emotion also shown and passion elevates the song, it really is a great performance from Richard. We then have Chris McLeish performing ‘Out There’ from ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’. This song is extremely complex and it takes someone with great vocal control and power to be able to do it justice, Chris is exactly that performer. His voice really suits this song, and he performs it flawlessly, there is no sign of struggle. A stunning performance. 

We definitely need a bit of cheesy fun and quirkiness brought into our mundane lockdown, well this production does exactly that with the next two numbers. Sally Swanson and Julie Henery perform ‘I Know Him So Well’ from ‘Chess’, they even re-create the iconic music video. The two ladies nail the vocals for this performance and bring us a great cover of a classic. Jen Park and Richard then perform ‘Money’ from ‘Cabaret’. They do well to bring us some of the Bob Fosse stylized movement we have come to expect when seeing ‘Cabaret’. With the help of the film effects to set the tone, we really do get a fun ‘Cabaret’ segment.  

Julie returns to slow down the showcase and give us a beautiful performance of ‘Where Did the Rock Go?’ from ‘School of Rock’. And we then move onto Matt who performs ‘You Don’t Need to Love Me’ from If/Then, this is a gorgeous emotionally charged performance, featuring great vocals from Matt. We then have a sublime performance from the company with a mash-up of ‘If I Never Knew You’ from ‘Pocahontas’ and ‘You’ll Be in My Heart’ from ‘Tarzan’. The vocals presented show the company’s strength, and really does appetize their audience to see them live once they are able to perform in a theatre again? 

We then get a divine duet from Matt and Julie, with ‘What You Mean to Me’ from ‘Finding Neverland’, the two performers shine in this song. Their vocals and passion really elevate this already superb piece of music. Michael Lynch and Chris then perform the title song of ‘Bare’. The two have utterly amazing vocals and both complement each other. However, the interactions between the performers and the door did at points slightly take away from this very powerful performance. None the less it was still a very good performance of this fairly unknown musical’s title number. 

Jen performs ‘Screw Loose’ from the musical adaptation of ‘Cry-Baby’, this was a good performance where Jen radiated the character well, while also delivering great vocals.  Sally then performs ‘When He Sees Me’ from ‘Waitress’, her accent is on point, the Southern Accent is one of the most difficult to perfect, yet Sally nails it here. Sally also manages to nail this accent while still giving us killer vocals. She also does well to project the character through this song. 

Richard, Jen and Matt perform ‘Who I’d Be’ from ‘Shrek the Musical’ this is a superb song and the three performers really deliver a great rendition of what is widely known as the best song from the musical. The harmonies and power shown by all three elevates the song and makes it something that sounds like the original recording. Michael returns to give us a stunning performance of ‘Being Alive’ from ‘Company’, he seamlessly performs this big song with great vocals and energy, superb penultimate song. Jen, Chris, Michael and Company give us a finale in the shape of ‘Louder Than Words’ from ‘Tick Tick Boom!’ This is a magnificent ending to this varied showcase with the full company’s vocals being utilized wonderfully with this finale. 

The only issue I have found with this showcase is that even though each song is sang stupendously by each performer, the choice in music is at points obscure. Quite a lot of the songs featured in this production are ones which are only really known by musical fans but not your average theatre goer. There are some great choices in there but there is the occasional song which is far too generic, and raises the question why it was picked to feature within this showcase? 

Other than that criticism, I believe this is a very professional showcase that features many highly talented performers who are an asset to the Scottish theatre industry. I cannot wait to see this company in a physical production when theatres return (hopefully) later this year. Make sure to catch this production while it is available online and all donations go to two worthy causes. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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