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BWW Review: INTERMISSIONS: THE SUMMER EDITION, Episode One

BWW Review: INTERMISSIONS: THE SUMMER EDITION, Episode One

BWW Review: INTERMISSIONS: THE SUMMER EDITION, Episode One No one could have originally predicted the catastrophic impact that the Coronavirus pandemic has had on the arts industry. From live concerts to releasing never-before-seen archive footage, venues and artists have been doing all they can to keep the theatre industry's profile alive.

I've watched a large amount of said work online, and it has been extremely heartwarming to witness the creativity of those who make up our industry; all produced to keep audiences entertained and artists working during a time when very little is able to happen. West End leading lady Alice Fearn, along with the team behind Intermissions: The Summer Edition, showed this passion and determination last night in their debut episode.

Filmed in a socially distanced manner in Fearn's beautiful back garden, the episodes feature live musical performances and interviews with special guests, all with a positive spin on the lockdown period and providing hope for the industry's future. The hour-long programme is hosted by Alice Fearn herself, who is incredibly charismatic, a natural presenter and - as we all already know - a phenomenal singer.

Director Kirk Jameson has devised a very fluid and well-thought-out programme, filmed across three cameras (with Fearn's husband even operating one of them!). It is the height of professionalism, with the content, structure and quality the best I've seen over the past four months. A couple of sound issues aside (smoothly rectified), it was flawless.

Fearn begins the show singing the opening sequence from Jason Robert Brown's Songs From A New World, accompanied by Musical Director Nick Barstow. Although not as widely known as other numbers performed, it has perfect intention and gives a great sense of what's to come. She even manages to tag an Elphaba riff on at the end of the song in tongue-in-cheek fashion! This song is then followed by an amazing new interpretation of "Old Friends" from Merrily We Roll Along, sung by Fearn and Barstow, who arranged this number for his album, RE:Arrangement.

Shan Ako, most recently seen in the West End production of Les Miserables, is the headline guest for this week's episode. She performs original song "Step Up" beautifully, with bundles of soul, and delivers a mic drop performance of "When You Believe" from The Prince of Egypt with Fearn later on in the concert.

Fearn is also joined in her garden by fellow performers Andy Coxon and Jodie Steele, to discuss how lockdown cut short their theatre jobs in West Side Story and SIX respectively, but also focuses on the positives that can be drawn from the enforced downtime. Intermissions provides a platform for performers to showcase side projects or businesses, here focusing on Coxon's theatrically inspired deodorant brand, AKT London.

Another incredible segment celebrates the musical theatre graduates of 2020 who have been hugely affected by the pandemic. A moving montage of messages from leading industry professionals is enough to give goosebumps to the most unfeeling of people. What then follows is a spotlight on a recent graduate, here Elliot Akeister from the London School of Musical Theatre, who delivers a gorgeous version of "Her Voice" from The Little Mermaid with great clarity.

To round off the show, Fearn sings a fitting rendition of "You'll Never Walk Alone" and brings the party with finale number, "Take Me To Heaven" from Sister Act.

Intermissions has filled me, and I've no doubt many others, with an overwhelming sense of joy and hunger for our craft or passion. I'm extremely excited about the forthcoming episodes if they are anything like this one.

Intermissions: The Summer Edition continues next Friday (24 July) and for the next two consecutive weeks with different guests. For more information, please click here



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