Given the year we’ve all had and the latest news that Christmas has now been cancelled for many with the new restrictions, people can be forgiven for not being in the festive spirit. Thankfully We Need A Little Christmas in aid of Shelter and Crisis at Christmas has arrived just in time to try to cheer us all up and put us in the festive mood. Filmed at the Actors’ Church in Covent Garden, this online show features a whole host of West End stars performing some festive songs and readings.
Produced by Ginger Quiff Media and Guy Chapman and directed by Michael Strassen, the show is hosted by Denise Welch and Amy Hart and opens with title number We Need A Little Christmas, performed by Six’s Sophie Isaacs. Over 75 minutes the production features a number of Christmas tunes, from the likes of Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, Santa Baby (performed by the glorious Cassidy Janson), Silent Night and a cover of Coldplay’s Christmas Lights. The talent on offer is impressive, with performances from the likes of Sheila Ferguson, Lee Mead and Sally Ann Triplett to name just a few. During the show the audience are also treated to a Dickens reading from the legendary Simon Callow and an entertaining monologue from Dame Maureen Lipman, which are neatly placed to break up the musical moments. The setting of the Actors’ Church is a particular strength of the production, not only making it more festive with the Christmas tree and scattered gifts in the background, but also giving the show a more intimate feel, as though we’re actually there sitting in the pews.
The show features a combination of popular and less-well known songs and there are some true gems within the setlist, which is brought to life thanks to musical director George Carter. Brenda Edwards’ rendition of O Holy Night is every bit as special as you’d expect, while Jodie Prenger’s stripped back country version of White Christmas is simply beautiful. And there are plenty of emotional moments too – David Bedella’s cover of I’ll Be Home For Christmas is particularly bittersweet and moving given the latest news about further tier restrictions. If there’s one niggle it’s that many of the song choices are a little on the sombre side, but thankfully in amongst these there are a few upbeat classics which raise the tempo and are just what’s needed to lift spirits. Kevin Clifton entertains with an energetic performance of Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree and The Vivienne from Ru Paul’s Drag Race is just brilliant singing Jingle Bell Rock. One of the highlights of the show comes courtesy of Hamilton’s Dom Hartley-Harris and his performance of Christmas Baby, his voice perfect for the song and proving just how much talent is on show.
Featuring some incredible performances and song choices to suit everyone’s taste, We Need A Little Christmas is certainly an enjoyable concert and shows just how viable the arts really are. Both entertaining and emotional, it’s sure to bring a little light to what is sure to be a very different Christmas for many.
We Need A Little Christmas is available to view until 1 January 2021 via Stream.theatre.
Photo credit: Bonnie Britain