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BWW Review: TURN UP LONDON, Cadogan Hall

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BWW Review: TURN UP LONDON, Cadogan Hall

BWW Review: TURN UP LONDON, Cadogan Hall

Reviewing in the arts is a funny old game. We watch productions, absorb the work, analyse it within a cultural context, take into consideration the intention of the source material, and write something that reflects our view of the whole package.

But Turn Up London has transcended that remit into something that deserves so much more than 'just' a rave review - which, *spoiler alert*, is what I'm giving it. After three evenings on the trot, it has now finished broadcasting, so I'm not here right now to encourage anyone to watch it. I can't. But what Club11 London has always done so brilliantly is unite communities, and Turn Up London is perhaps their most effective and important example of that.

At its core - and under the creative direction of Nicole Raquel Dennis and Ryan Carter - this fantastically sophisticated concert existed to raise money and awareness for four incredible charities in support of the Black Lives Matter movement: The Bail Project, The Okra Project, The Black Curriculum, and UK Black Pride.

The resulting concert was a magical blend of performances filmed at Cadogan Hall (with a live band under the helm of MD Sean Green), at-home performances, and readings from prominent figures in the Black community. What a treat to be able to witness something original, with full in-house production values, in this remote world we're all still living in.

The backdrop of Cadogan Hall is always a joy, but it felt more special seeing it in all its glory, knowing it had been given a new life during lockdown and not stood silently like so many of our theatres right now. The performances themselves were an eclectic mix of genres, combining soul, pop, R&B, and a joyful smattering of musical theatre for good measure.

Singling out any one performer does a disservice to the others, because the truth is that the power of this two-hour concert came from its collective. It was a perfect lesson in unity. We were treated to classics like "I'm Every Woman", "Joyful Joyful" and "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", contemporary pieces like "Don't Upset the Rhythm" and Lizzo's "Juice", and some original musical theatre from Memphis the Musical, Wicked and R&H Cinderella.

So if you're reading this, please consider donating if you can, and we should all make sure that we continue our education and our fight for parity, regardless of skin colour. Turn Up London emphasised - because the world clearly needs reminding - that the wealth of Black talent in this industry is inversely proportional to their representation on stage. Let's change that, together.

You can donate to the four named charities HERE

Photo credit: Christopher Andreou

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