Saturday, 10 October 2020

REVIEW: The Show Must Go On at The Lost Alhambra

With these uncertain times, there are some people in our industry who are doing everything they can to bring theatre back in whatever way possible. With producers openly saying they might not make money back and with the recent Equity proposal, it's proving to be a very tricky time. One of the venues trying their very best to bring theatre to the people is The Lost Alhambra, in the heart of Leicester Square. 

The Show Must Go On is a new cabaret and dining experience; a full 3-hour show plus a 2-course meal and bottomless prosecco, this experience is truly delightful and heartwarming. 

With our host, drag artist Poppycock, and a cast of three Musical Theatre performers they guide us through the show with an ensemble of singers who sing through the score. At this event we had the pleasure of viewing the Chicago version but upcoming performances include Mamma Mia, Hairspray, Priscilla, Rocky Horror and a special Halloween themed evening. 

The premise is nothing new, its similar to those we have seen at The Piano Works but what this venue does is manages to cross over into a more theatrical experience rather than a simple cabaret. 

As you sit down, a welcome drink is provided and the prosecco starts flowing. The staff are really delightful and are clearly eager for everyone to enjoy their evening. This creates an exciting atmosphere which means as soon as the performance starts, we are all buzzing to experience some live vocals in the heart of the West End. 

The dinner included Steak and Chips (a vegetarian option is available) with a chocolate tart to finish. Whilst I am definitely not a food critic, the food was basic but delicious! When you’re catering for such a wide variety of people, it may be difficult to make sure everyone enjoys the food but with a menu like this, you cannot go wrong. Although pretty simple food, it was gorgeous. 

Our host, Poppycock, is one of the hottest Drag Queens around right now and this performance tells us exactly why. A perfect host with a wonderful balance of comedy and making sure we keep up with the show and story. The vocals were incredible and would not be out of place on the best West End stage. Poppy is an incredible performer and is certainly someone to keep your eye on, they’re going to go very far. 

At this performance, Ex-Velma Laura Tyrer reprises her role, Haley Flaherty plays Roxie and Oliver Tompsett plays Billy Flynn. Poppycock sings Mama Morton, Amos Hart and Mary Sunshine and the other roles are filled in by the cast. The four performers really manage to embody the Chicago theme and the talent is truly exceptional. It's not an easy job to battle with the loud audience and still give a West End standard performance but each of them do it with no problem whatsoever. 

Although the show really is wonderful, I feel they possibly need to relax in the thorough telling of the story. It is important that we know whats going on but with shows that are so iconic, I defy anyone who doesn’t know what's going on. Chicago can be a difficult one because there's quite a lot of talking in the songs, which in this environment can be difficult to engage with. However, the big numbers were an absolute hit. With Mr Cellophane (sung by Poppy Cock) being the biggest hit of the night! 

The four performers do such a brilliant job, and the number is perfect. Any more and it would have been too much, they even manage to do a three-hander Cell Block Tango! 

Chicago is a really great show and theme for this kind of event, to immerse yourself in the atmosphere is really unique and with the performers within reach (don’t touch, social distancing!) it really turns out to be an incredible experience and I would happily go back, the future line ups look like so much fun! 

The tickets range fro £50 for a standard ticket (includes 1 hour of bottomless Prosecco and the 2-course meal) to £65 (for an extra hour of the bottomless drinks). Now, this may seem like a lot of money but for what you get it is truly a bargain! And the level of talent that is featured in this show, it's cheap! 

Theatre is still alive, we have a very long way to go but with people like those behind The Show Must Go On, we can still get our theatre fix in the best way possible. Its a thoroughly enjoyable evening, with incredible talent, good food and bottomless prosecco. What more could you ask for?! 

Review by Mark Swale 

Rating: ★★★★

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