This year, the lead up to Christmas — or more accurately, the end of December — is obviously a little different due to the fear and restrictions that continue to plague our industry. While the West End stands idle, musical theatre performers are going spare left, right, and centre, but producers Thomas Hopkins and Michael Quinn (Ginger Quiff Media) have seized the opportunity to put them to good use.
Televisions’ Denise Welch hosts We Need A Little Christmas at The Actors’ Church in Covent Garden. This show boasts a glittering array of talent in an online Christmas variety concert.
Welch brings her daytime humour to the performance in a very appealing way, if somewhat cheesy at times. Though it’s clear her participation is a marketing appeal to her audience base, Welch’s role in the show is minimal and she does seem underutilised, especially given the bizarre inclusion of co-host Amy Hart, of Love Island fame.
From the beautiful classic song ‘O Holy Night’ which Brenda Edwards superbly executes, to a riffed up take on ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ by Lydia Lucy. Each performer brings something of themself to their song and delivers festive joy with heart. And it’s not just singing, Kevin Clifton dances his heart out to ‘Rocking Around the Christmas Tree’, there is a superb reading of Dickens by Simon Callow, and Dame Maureen Lipman delivers an excellent monologue from her home.
The setting of The Actors’ Church, with some light Christmas decoration, brings a wholesome Christmas Eve vibe to the evening without being overtly religious in nature. While I have never been religious myself, I have always found great comfort and joy in watching the carol singers by the church at Christmastime and that atmosphere of inclusivity and of love is certainly reflected here.
The concert is cut together crisply, with clean intros and outros and jingly festive graphics. As well as the footage from the church, there are a few performances that artists deliver from their homes, which fit in surprisingly well.
Although it is not an overly produced show, there is great charm to this concert and it really brings about the joy of the season — even if we are not getting the Christmas we were hoping for. With superb performances, directed by Michael Strassen, this show really gives us exactly what we need — after all, with a year like this one, We Need A Little Christmas all of us.
We Need A Little Christmas is available to stream online until 1 January 2021. For more information and to book tickets, visit Stream Theatre online.
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