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The Secret Society of Leading Ladies at Barn Theatre follows in the footsteps of Coronavirus Era Digital Concerts but with a Twist!
It’s been nearly a year since theaters had to shut their doors to protect their patrons during these unprecedented times. Many theaters have brilliantly brought shows and concerts to a digital platform (eg. National Theatre broadcasting Tom Hiddleston in Coriolanus on YouTube, Roustabout Theatre’s Margin of Error, Streaming Theatre’s Pride and Prejudice, and Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Shows Must Go On!).
And now Barn Theatre joins the ranks with their creative and beautifully filmed The Secret Society of Leading Ladies! that is a cabaret show featuring 14 UK actresses in an interactive choose-your-own show with each stream concert including 5 actresses. Audience members are put in the director’s seat and from the comfort of home can choose each performer they wish to watch.
The ladies are broken up into 5 categories such as divas (Delores from Sister Act and Janis from Mean Girls), princesses (Anya from Anastasia & Fiona from Shrek), and villains (eg. Regina George from Mean Girls & The Witch from Into the Woods). And the ‘big finish’ includes all 14 actresses so you can see the amazing talent of the actresses you didn’t get a chance to see in your streamed concert.
Who Are The Secret Society of Leading Ladies?
The leading ladies are a varied group of actresses with huge pipes and great stage presence! It was also fun to see that they were made up of all different shapes and sizes and the cast was mixed up of British African-Caribbean and White races. (It would have been nice to see other races highlighted too but that’s just a small complaint from this Asian reviewer.)
The talented ladies include: Jocasta Almgill (& Juliet, Rent, In The Heights, Dreamgirls), Lauren Byrne (Beautiful, Six), Kayla Carter (Rent), Aoife Clesham (Fiver), Allie Daniel (Rent), Abbi Hodgson (Six – NCL), Aisha Jawando (Tina the Musical, Motown the Musical, The Life, Beautiful), Claudia Kariuki (Priscilla Queen of The Dessert, School of Rock, Wicked), Natalie Kassanga (Dear Evan Hansen, Motown The Musical), Emma Kingston (The Last 5 Years, Zorro, Evita, Fiddler on the Roof, In The Heights), Kayleigh McKnight (Bend It Like Beckham, Les Miserables, Tina the Musical, Jesus Christ Superstar), Ellie Mitchell (Chicago, Wicked), Jarnéia Richard-Noel (Six) and Kelly Sweeney (Hair, Six).
Stand-outs during my stream included Lauren Byrne who gave a gorgeous rendition of “Journey to the Past” from Anastasia and Aisha Jawando who was sensational as The Witch from Into the Woods – giving Bernadette Peters a run for her money!
High Quality Filming of The Secret Society of Leading Ladies
The real star of the show was the terrific filming by Jamie Scott-Smith and the clever editing by Ben Evans. Taking advantage of an almost-empty theatre, Scott-Smith captured each of the ladies from different angles and Ben Evans edited the show together so that it came across seamlessly. You really feel as if you are in the audience watching from the best seat in the house. And during the brief interactions between the actresses in your stream, it really appears as if they are all together in the same room.
Recommendation for The Secret Society of Leading Ladies
Any adult theatre fan should definitely check out The Secret Society of Leading Ladies and preferably with an ‘unlimited stream’ ticket so you can see the different performances and how well the scenes are pieced together.
I was very impressed with the talent both on camera and behind the lens. It could not have been an easy feat bringing all these ladies and songs and storylines together and yet everything looked so effortless.
Where to See The Secret Society of Leading Ladies?
Tickets: 2 ticket types are available for the production. £10 Single Stream Tickets, which give access to watch the concert once at their selected time, and £15 Unlimited Stream Tickets which provide one day-access to the concert, allowing the viewer to experience as many combinations as they wish within their allotted time.
Dates: The concert will be available internationally from February 22 – March 7, 2021
Website: Tickets can be purchased at barntheatre.org.uk/barn-at-home.
Parental Advisory: Some of the songs are definitely PG-13 and R rated.
Disclaimer: I received my single stream ticket for review purposes but all opinions are my own.
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