Monday Night at the Apollo
Reviewed – 24th May 2021
“all the great parts will gloriously shine through and you’ll be left helplessly beaming”
Live theatre’s back! After the year we’ve had, it certainly feels good to type those words. Even watching online, the buzz and glee was palpable from the audience and the performers. As an overture for all that we’ve missed and all that’s to come, Monday Night at the Apollo definitely sets the mood.
All in aid of Acting for Others, a theatrical charity organisation, Monday Night at the Apollo marks the first of three live and live-streamed intimate concerts from the Apollo Theatre. This one featured a stellar cast of Aimie Atkinson, Lucie Jones, Cedric Neal, Julian Ovendon, and Cassidy Janson, with Greg Barnett on hosting duties letting the performers share anecdotes and stories between songs – as well as plugging their upcoming projects, of course.
It all made for a lovely laid-back evening – the cast seemed to be totally relaxed and having a great time, which made it easy and enjoyable to hear them tell you about their lives as if they would a friend, although Barnett seemed a little uncomfortable at times in his role, as though he didn’t always know what to say in response to what someone was sharing.
However, you don’t come to a concert for the conversation, and the songs certainly don’t disappoint. Played with aplomb by the four-piece band, the setlist opens with each actor performing a song of their choosing, which subsequently leaves it feeling very ballad-heavy, but after that there’s a great variety on offer. Atkinson gives phenomenal performances of ‘Don’t Rain on My Parade’ and ‘Rolling in the Deep’ with her astonishing voice, there are magnificent duets in the form of ‘All the Wasted Time’ (Ovendon and Janson) and ‘Don’t Worry ‘Bout a Thing’ (Jones and Neal), and a host of other powerful solos such as ‘So You Wanted to See the Wizard’ and ‘Hold Me in Your Heart’ from Neal (hip-shaking and tear-jerking respectively) and ‘She Used to Be Mine’ from Jones – a particular favourite since she brought all the gravitas from her time in Waitress into her performance here. The closing number, a rendition of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ with gorgeous three-part harmonies from Atkinson, Jones, and Janson, is also absolutely beautiful.
Monday Night at the Apollo isn’t quite perfect, with its slow opening and slightly stilted hosting, but it’s live theatre with a live audience and if you’ve missed that as much as I have then all the great parts will gloriously shine through and you’ll be left helplessly beaming.
Reviewed by Ethan Doyle
Photography by Danny Kaan
Monday Night at the Apollo
Apollo Theatre and Live Streamed via Thespie – further shows on 14th June and 5th July
Reviewed by Ryan this year: