A Love Letter to Theatre:
***** 5 Stars
Newly formed Glasgow based A Little Theatre Company make their debut with a digital concert that gives the audience a beautiful hour of gorgeous vocals as they set out on a journey to explore the best of musical theatre. There are some interesting artistic choices made that benefit the overall production so well.
The Concert will be available from Sunday 14th February but we at Scotsgay Arts were given an advance copy to take a peek for review and what a joy it is.
Opening with a comedy sketch as a lament to those famous pre show announcements the company then launch into “ Some things Never Change” from Disney’s “ Frozen 2”. Cleverly filmed it ensures the entire company make their mark from the off.
Swiftly moving on to a medley of Love songs from the Pen of Andrew Lloyd Webber, Chris McLeish gives a full throated rendition of “Love Changes Everything” from “ Aspects of Love” his honey soaked vocals are at full power from the off. Blending into Matt Howells “Unexpected Song” from “Tell me on a Sunday” his voice soars and it’s always nice to hear a male take on the female intended song. Completing the Medley is Sally Swanson with “I don’t know how to love him “from “Jesus Christ Superstar” which is powerfully sung with the right amount of emotional punch behind it.
Next up is Stephen Schwartz and Bob Fosse’s “Pippin” and a performance of “corner of the Sky” sung with conviction by Richard Dalrymple whose piercing eyes truly sell the song; it’s an assured and touching performance. This is followed by the return of Chris McLeish singing “out there” from “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”. This has to be the most vocally challenging song in the musical cannon with complex timing and rhythm. McLeish literally slays it this is a west end worthy performance.
A throw back to 80’s high hair and shoulder pads comes next with Sally Swanson and Julie Henery performing “I know him so well” from “Chess” the monster hit that saved a lacklustre show. The vocals are on point and attention to detail would Make Elaine Page and Barbara Dickson proud.
Its then time for a touch of “Cabaret” with Jen Park and Richard Dalrymple performing the titular “Money” using film effects and Fosse choreography to create a suitably fun “Cabaret” section that’s equally well performed.
Things then slow down into a ballad section kicking off with Jen Park performing “Where did the rock go?” from Webbers “ School of Rock” Park has a unique voice that flows with emotion but retains enough timing to make you feel the passion of the song. Leading into Matt Howells “You don’t need to love me” from the Broadway smash “If/Then”. This has to be emotional high point of the production, the audience can almost touch the emotion of Howell its equally captivating as it is compassionate.
The company then join together for a mash up of “If I never knew you” and “You’ll be in my heart” from “Pocahontas” and “Tarzan” respectively. The company let loose with Disney songs really get to showcase the vocals they have and the joy that awaits when they make their stage debut.
Turning to “Finding Neverland” Howells and Henery’s performance of “What you mean to me” both performers shine in a song that imbues love from a forgotten time but never the less remains strong. Simply beautiful musical theatre at its very best.
Love takes its view through same sex relationships with Intrabartolo and Hartmere’s “Bare, A Pop Opera” and the title song “Bare” with McLeish and Michael Lynch taking on the emotions of the shows lead characters, Peter and Jason, delivering in depth, Style and grace its wonderfully performed.
The company stay state side with a performance of “Screw Loose” from “Cry Baby” Jen Park gets to showcase her acting chops well in this comedy infused number. Sally Swanson then takes on the musical based around Pie’s namely “Waitress” and “When he sees me” and does the song real justice.
Next up is DreamWorks monster hit, literally, “Shrek, The musical” and “Who I’d Be” with Dalrymple, Park and Howells taking on the vocal, this is the most poignant moment in the show as we get to see inside the performers lives on stage for all of us in the arts in truly shows how much we miss our home, but we stand together, strong working to see the curtains rise once more.
Michael Lynch brings the production into the home straight with a stunning performance of “ Being Alive” from Sondheim’s “Company” it’s clear Lynch is an industry professional with a big career ahead with faultless vocals, timing and sheer passion for performing all coming through.
The company then bring the curtain down by turning to Jonathan Larson, (No not Rent and seasons of love) “Tick Tick Boom” and the outstanding song “ Louder than Words” this is a rousing and fabulous curtain call. Utilising every single ounce of the company’s vocal talents to a rousing conclusion.
“A love letter to theatre” does just that, it celebrates love of theatre, performing, friendship and each other and the Little Company truly deliver the magic of musical theatre that continues to flicker like a burning candle during these dark times for the industry. I for one applaud them and can’t wait to see what comes next! Hopefully live on stage. For now however grab a ticket for this hour long treat!
A Little Theatre Company Presents, A love Letter to Theatre. For tickets by donation to “Acting For Others” go to https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/a-little-company-presents-a-love-letter-to-theatre-tickets-137304269767