With the pandemic taking its toll on the theatre industry, the innovation of theatres creating productions in new ways is astounding. Using online platforms, theatres are bringing the arts directly into your home through countless streamed productions and concerts.
The Barn Theatre are stepping it up a notch, with their latest production The Secret Society of Leading Ladies. In a online concert, meets computer game style technology, this experience allows you to curate your own concert. Taking audiences into a world where musical theatre characters can co-exist in the same space regardless of era or genre.
Over the course of the concert, the viewer is presented 5 ‘Choose Your Player’ screens which prompt you to decide which character you choose to introduce into your concert next. From villains to princesses, divas and dreamers, the possibilities are remarkable.
Not only is this an ingenious idea, but it is a fantastic way to showcase the variety of leading ladies.
I started my concert with Claudia Kariuki singing Fabulous Baby from Sister Act – a sparkling opening to what was set to be a sensational concert showcasing the very best of female musical theatre. I then journeyed to the past with Lauren Byrne with a dreamy performance from Anastasia. Next Alisha Jawando blew me away with a haunting rendition of The Last Midnight from Into the Woods . One of the stand-out performances was Jocasta Almgill’s fiery performance of Everybody’s Girl from Steel Pier – the fusion of striking personality and killer vocals creates a mesmerising performance.
The interactions between the characters is one of the clever moments in the experience as the roles you choose along the way then talk to each other in-between the performances. It’s one of the rare moments you see different musical theatre worlds collide.
There’s a superb mixture of styles from legit to contemporary musicals – creating the perfect fix for musical fans.
The final song, featuring all 14 characters is a rousing performance of Big Finish – where the ladies’ voices blend together to create a joyous ensemble number. It also gives you a glimpse into all the characters and stories that can be explored within the concert.
It’s a glorious celebration of the leading ladies that grace our stages across the country. Soak up the stellar performances in this creative new online experience.
Book your ticket to The Secret Society of Leading Ladies online on the Barn Theatre’s website as it runs until Sun 7 Mar.
Featuring Jocasta Almgill (& Juliet, Rent, In The Heights, Dreamgirls), Lauren Byrne (Beautiful, Six), Kayla Carter (Rent), Aoife Clesham (Fiver), Allie Daniel (Rent), Abbi Hodgson (Six – NCL), Aisha Jawando (Tina the Musical, Motown the Musical, The Life, Beautiful), Claudia Kariuki (Priscilla Queen of The Dessert, School of Rock, Wicked), Natalie Kassanga (Dear Evan Hansen, Motown The Musical), Emma Kingston (The Last 5 Years, Zorro, Evita, Fiddler on the Roof, In The Heights), Kayleigh McKnight (Bend It Like Beckham, Les Miserables, Tina the Musical, Jesus Christ Superstar), Ellie Mitchell (Chicago, Wicked), Jarnéia Richard-Noel (Six) and Kelly Sweeney (Hair, Six).
The creative team for Secret Society of Leading Ladies are Ryan Carter as Creative Director & Concept Creator, Leo Munby (The Last 5 Years, Gypsy, Company) as musical consultant, sound engineering by Harry Smith, editing by Ben Evans and videography by Jamie Scott-Smith.
*Please note, I do not give productions created during the pandemic a star rating because anyone creating theatre right now deserves endless amounts of stars.