Ever wanted to see your favourite West End star sing your favourite West End song? Well, The Secret Society of Leading Ladies may be exactly what you are looking for. Concept and direction by Ryan Carter, the show is an inventive trial of what digital theatre can be. Choose your own adventure is not entirely original nowadays but this piece has an injection of some much-needed intimacy. Audience agency paired with the familiarity of a few faces and recognisable or nostalgic musical numbers; the virtual experience feels far less isolated watching from home. And if you are a real die-hard fan, then it is like a musical theatre easter egg waiting to be found. With the choice of one or unlimited streams, the latter seems the obvious option because there are over 150 combinations to choose from!
There is no particular plot to grab onto, just an exploration of musical theatre. With a couple of inconsistencies in the sound mix and underwhelming filler between performances, the audience relies on the artistic device of customisation holding their attention. Thankfully, each leading lady claws you back in with her charm and skill.
Particular stand-out performances include Kayleigh Mcknight and Lauren Byrne. Mcknight’s tone is dripping with mellifluous malice, the character and vocal dexterity appears effortless while Byrne’s sensitivity of soul shines through, balancing both delicate emotional nuance and astonishing power. Impressive and unique vocal performances from Emma Kingston, Kayla Carter and Aisha Jawando are joined by brilliantly characterful performances from Jocasta Almgill, Kelly Sweeney, Aiofe Clesham, Ellie Mitchell and Natalie Kassanga. Claudia Kariuki, Abbi Hodgson, Allie Daniel and Jarneia Richard-Noel round out the collective to make this exclusive mix of fierce female talent.
The Barn Theatre have presented a beautifully bespoke digital concert that celebrates the stars of the stage and lets the audience have a say in who they want to see. The antithesis of these leading ladies being secret highlights a really wonderful idea; talent, speciality and devotion to the arts can come from anyone. It just requires one to manage to find the spotlight, even in the darkest of times.
You can find tickets here
Review: Vivienne King