Thursday, 24 December 2020

REVIEW: All I Want For Christmas is Theatre at

For me, theatre should always be an event. It’s an evening out where you get to sit with hundreds of like-minded people and loose yourself in a living, breathing story. But, since March, this has scarcely been possible, so most of us are turning to online performances to either watch or work on. All I Want for Christmas is Theatre brings together some of the west-ends biggest names for a Christmas concert, featuring performers from Heathers, Dear Evan Hansen, & Juliet, Six and many more. Fifty minutes of festive joy beamed directly into your home... what more could you ask for as you polish off the final few chocolates of your advent calendar?

To praise every member of the 40 strong cast would take longer than a Downing Street press conference; the burning talent on screen is undeniable and sometimes joyfully overwhelming. With rich harmonies courtesy of Musical Directors Nick Barstow and Gareth Weedon, suitably cheesy choreography and the rousing vocals of some of the UK’s greatest talents, there is little that can go wrong.

Alice Fearn steals the show with a beautiful performance of Joni Mitchel’s ‘River’, in which she accompanies herself on piano. Watching Sam Tutty channel Michael Bublé in a style a million miles away from his usual anxiety-riddled Evan was an absolute joy.

The joy of this concert being pre-recorded is that you can watch and listen to some of the wonderful vocal gymnastics again and again, although sometimes its best just to listen. The camera work and editing leaves a lot to be desired in select places. On the whole, the post-production feels rushed; with crew accidentally walking into shot, some shaky tracking, and harsh colour temperature changes. But even this doesn’t detract too much from the talent on screen.

Whilst the production seemed (and I say this with all the love in the world and a good understanding of how difficult it is at the moment) to lack some ‘COVID- Secure’ measures that I would have expected to see more stringently stuck to, it felt warm and inviting; something that we all definitely need during these cold and sometimes isolated times.

All I Want for Christmas is Theatre. Well, I hope I’m on the ‘nice’ list because I’m not sure how much longer I can go without! But, until we are allowed to be together to indulge in live story-telling, these stars bring a bit of the west-end directly to your house.

Review by Max Topliss

Rating: ★★★

Seat: Online | Price of Ticket: £15
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