REVIEW: Hopeful Holidays, The Theatre Channel

This fourth episode in the Theatre Cafe’s online series offers a glamorous and heartwarming concert celebrating Christmas.

Tosh Wanogho Maud and Matt Croke (c)Edward Johnson

Elegant and classy, this fourth episode in the Theatre Channel series is filled with festive treats as stars of the stage come together to celebrate Christmas in this glorious concert. Titled Hopeful Holidays, this charming episode features a number of classic songs that really gets into the festive spirit.

The show gets off to a charming start with a beautiful rendition of ‘We Need a Little Christmas’ written by Jerry Herman for the musical Mame. Performed by Sophie-Louise Dann, it is a really sophisticated opening – particularly when combined with Bill Deamer’s excellent choreography.

(c)Edward Johnson

Thanks to some lovely sleek editing and videography by Ben Hewis, this is very neatly followed by a gorgeously heartfelt rendition of Jonathan Larson’s ‘Seasons of Love’ from the popular musical Rent, performed by ArtsEd graduates. Featuring some wonderfully warm harmonies – they are a bright hope for the future of theatre when the industry comes back stronger than before.

There are also some lovely uplifting moments as well, thanks to a really playful performance of ‘Turkey Lurkey’ from Promises,Promises sung by Zizi Strallen, with some excellent support from the Cafe Four and Rachel John’s rendition of ‘A Brand New Day’ from The Wiz is wonderfully hopeful and uplifting. Both feature wonderfully energetic choreography – acting as a reminder of just how much talent there is in this industry.

(c)Edward Johnson

But it is fair to say that the concert that has been put together is filled with warmth and heart. In particular, Manon Taris’s performance of ‘Ave Maria Paien’ is extraordinarily beautiful and haunting and the way in which it has been filmed and directed enhances it perfectly. Meanwhile, Cassidy Janson charms with her rendition of ‘White Christmas’ and Matt Croke and Tosh Wanogho Maud add plenty of charisma and style to their performance of Happy Holiday/Let’s Start the Year Right’ from Holiday Inn.

(c)Edward Johnson.

Throughout it all, every performance and everyone involved with putting together this episode has clearly put their heart and soul into this. It shows a wonderfully spirited community of people coming together to highlight the love and joy that theatre, music and performance can bring.

This is not just the performers but also down to Jack Weir’s warm and cosy lighting, the gorgeous set and costumes by Gregor Donnelly and the wonderfully rich sound design by Keegan Curran. Everything highlights what this community no matter how they are involved does best.

It may be tinged with bittersweetness right now, but it is a real joy to see and hear what everyone in the theatre community in this way, enhancing the value of the industry further.

By Emma Clarendon

All episodes of the Theatre Channel released so far are available to purchase to watch now.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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