Bringing some much-needed theatrical delight to the stage this week is Monday Night At The Apollo, returning with another stellar line-up of vocal virtuosos.
From reggae to pop, musical theatre to country, and so much in between; there truly is something for everyone in this concert performance of standalone songs. Unfortunately, there doesn’t feel to be any connection from one song to the next, nor anything that ties them together as a whole, but each song does add something special and paints a broad tapestry of what this varied industry has on offer. As well as the old favourites from artists like Buddy Holly and Bob Marley, there is also original music from the performers, adding an air of exclusivity to the event.
Introduced and hosted by Greg Barnett, there is also a conversational element to the evening with candid career memories adding a personal touch during these light anecdotal interludes. Though he certainly does give it the old college try, Barnett’s excitable energy is not enough to prevent the discussion from feeling jarring and awkward. In its joviality, there is nothing revelatory or heartfelt in the interviews, but it rather comes across as filler to provide a ticket-price worthy two-and-a-half-hour show. However, as each song is introduced, the artists explain how they came to choose this particular song for performance, and as the live on-stage band strikes up a note, the theatre comes alive.
From Sandra Marvin opening with Duke Ellington’s ‘Hit Me With A Hot Note’, through to the closing with Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’, the energy is high, the music is joyful and the talent is electric. Each with their own vocal style, the cast features Shan Ako (Les Misérables, Whitney – Queen of the Night), Arthur Darvill (Once, Doctor Who), Sophie Evans (The Wizard of Oz, Wicked), Jamie Muscato (Heathers, West Side Story) and the aforementioned Marvin (Emmerdale, Waitress).
There is a clear comradery between the performers, who at times sing in duos and trios, their harmonies seamless and executed with the clear experience that they all bring to the table – a statement of the pride and determination of artists during this tough year for theatre.
There is something very uplifting about this production, and for those who’ve still not managed to get inside a real theatre since the easing back of lockdown restrictions, then streaming this show will really bring back the excitement of live performance. Through it’s maybe not the newest idea in theatre right now, nor the best executed, it certainly is something to get us all dancing in our living rooms.
Monday Night At The Apollo is now available to stream until 17 June. For more information and to book tickets, visit Thespie’s website.