Review: A Night at the Musicals, Southwark Playhouse
5.0Overall Score

A Night At The Musicals gives audiences a chance to sit back and relax, as the sounds of the West End wash over them in a Cabaret style show. Performed throughout by Christina Modestou, and accompanied by Musical Director Richard Wetherell, each performance also features a host of special guests.

Christina Modestou is a Musical Theatre actress whose credits span the West End, as well as notable productions across the UK, including We Will Rock You, In the Heights, Shrek: The Musical, Urinetown and Rent. However, where most people will likely recognise Modestou is from her performance as Anne Boleyn in Six, the success of which has really shone a spotlight on all those involved. So if you’ve never heard her voice before and you are wondering if this is the show for you, then you need look no further than a quick listen of ‘Don’t Lose Your Head’ from the Six studio cast recording, to know that you are in for a real treat.

Southwark Playhouse have made great efforts to avoid reducing capacity as much as possible by having individual Perspex partitions between the seating of each group of audience members. Honestly, this can be slightly uncomfortable at first (if like me your shoulders are wider than the space available), but that discomfort quickly fades as the performance begins and there is nothing quite like the unity of an audience, experiencing something together.

Accompanied onstage only by a piano, Modestou takes the audience through her life in musicals, both those she has performed in and those she wishes she could. Breaking up the songs, she shares candid stories about her childhood and her experiences in the industry, earning great laughs from the audience.

Mixing between full length numbers and medleys, there is a great energy and positivity to the show, always playing around with the comic elements of the songs to match her personality. Twice during the performance, Modestou invites a musical theatre graduate to perform on stage, using her show to give them an opportunity to sing for a live audience, at a time when opportunities are so slim. She is also joined on stage by West End star Oliver Tompsett, with whom she has great fun performing as they battle one another with their vocal ranges.

The light, comedic, honest format makes the show feel as though it is a personal experience between the performer and the audience, there is no pretence and no arrogance, simply the enjoyment of music. Furthermore, the selection of material is so accessible that no one is excluded for lacking an in-depth knowledge of the complete history of Musical Theatre, something that often loses me with these types of musical cabaret.

Modestou’s voice is absolutely entrancing, with a phenomenal range, complete dexterity of cadence and pitch, and bundles of emotion. Her performance takes me from laughter to tears in the space of a song, constantly captivating at every turn. She brings strength in every note and joy in every word, and I just want more. This show is everything I have been yearning for since theatres began to return in August, it’s everything that we have been missing since the beginning of lockdown. Let’s hope that this is a sign of things to come, and not just a moment of nostalgia.

A Night At The Musicals is playing at the Southwark Playhouse until 1 November. For more information and to book tickets, visit Southwark Playhouse online.