Review: thoughts on Turn Up London

I wasn’t going to write up Turn Up London but in the end, it was just too darn good to leave unremarked. I’m just going to whip through my highlights though, and urge you to stay tuned for any future for this excellent and essential project.

  • Brittney Johnson and Alexia Khadime’s nigh-on perfect rendition of ‘For Good’ was proof positive, as if it were needed, of the power of casting on pure talent. It is a straight-up challenge to the powers-that-be of just how amazing Wicked or indeed any show could be once conventional casting notions are cast aside. See also Aisha Jawando (that final note!), how amazing she would be as the lead in ANY major musical.
  • The shift in perspective also made for a fascinatingly different kind of tracklisting, once blessedly free of Les Mis, Lloyd Webber and Sondheim, all of whom are often far over-represented in this style of concert. The time was clearly right for Rachel John to rip through Memphis‘ ‘Colored Woman’ and Obioma Uguola to nail Ragtime’s ‘Make Them Hear You’ but it would also be good to hear ‘I Dreamed A Dream’ and ‘Til I Hear You Sing Again’ just a little less all round.
  • Huge credit to creative directors Nicole Raquel Dennis and Ryan Carter for pulling together such a quality endeavour together so quickly – such boldness of vision needs to be recognised and further supported by the industry if and when it moves forward from these circumstances.
  • It would be good to get a reading list of the many brilliant spoken word pieces that were sprinkled throughout the concert. Some were only short but all were impactful and it would be great to be able to revisit them. 
  • Any love for Sister Act 2 deserves a gold star 
  • The ‘4,3,2,1’ bit in ‘Don’t Upset The Rhythm’ is pop-song perfection.

Donations can still be made here to benefit the four charities identified in support of the Black Lives Matter movement: The Bail Project, The Okra Project, The Black Curriculum, and UK Black Pride

Photos: Getty Images

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