If you’ve ever dreamed of being a fly on the wall during a conversation between your favourite musical theatre performers then you’ll love ‘Sunday in the Club with Oscar’. Part informal chat, part performance, this was the first in a series of bi-weekly Sunday evening sessions designed to support creatives in the entertainment industry during this strange and challenging time.
h Club London’s series is hosted by Only Fools and Horses The Musical star Oscar Conlon-Morrey – and in a happy coincidence the first session coincided with his birthday! Run using networking platform Zoom (thankfully with only the professionals on view!) the show has a simple format, with fabulous musical numbers interspersed with light-hearted chat as Oscar interviewed each of the guests. Bad auditions, art, gardening, owning a ring light (“or a light ring, depending if you bleach or not!”), Elvis conspiracies and getting drunk and disappearing when you should be singing at a wedding reception were all amusing topics covered over the course of an hour.
There was some incredible talent on display, with Danielle Steers giving a brilliant performance of ‘Hound Dog’ from Smokey Joe’s Café, Joel Montague singing about what everyone in lockdown seems to be doing at the moment with his take on ‘What Baking Can Do’ from Waitress, and Julie Atherton making everyone smile singing ‘My Party Dress’ from Henry and Mudge. Velma Celli brought lots of glamour to the evening with a medley of classic songs; while Samuel Holmes couldn’t have been more current with his version of ‘I’ve got a Little List’ from The Mikado, with references to lockdown and Dominic Cummings. Rob Fowler and Sharon Sexton wowed with their gorgeous duet ‘What Part of My Body Hurts the Most?’ from Bat Out of Hell The Musical, and everyone watching could relate to Alex Young’s performance of ‘I’m Breaking Down’ from Falsettos complete with appropriate props (wine and antidepressants).
Watching musical theatre stars perform on screen is never going to be the same as seeing them live on stage, especially as the sound quality on Zoom wasn’t ideal, which was unfortunate given the guests all have such great voices. However, until theatres reopen this remains an enjoyable way to keep a little bit of the magic of theatre in our lives – as Oscar mentioned during the show, “people turn to the arts in times of adversity because the arts lift them up”. While the run time could have been a little longer, it’s great to see a show that is focused on supporting those people in the arts who have been cheering us all up over the past two months. h Club London’s new series has got off to a great start, and fingers crossed they continue to let the public tune in to witness musical performers’ conversations and incredible talent.
Review by Cathy O’Donnell