With powerful performances from Michael Xavier, Josefina Gabrielle and more, plus a sneak peek at the forthcoming Carousel, Episode Seven of The Theatre Channel is a marvellous showcase for Rodgers and Hammerstein
“Bachelor dandies, drinkers of brandies
What do I know of those”
Episode Seven of The Theatre Channel is presented in a co-production with Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, as it focus on the songs of Rodgers and Hammerstein allows us get a taster of their forthcoming production of Carousel. And not only that, there’s illustrative contributions throughout from Ted Chapin, former president of The Rodgers and Hammerstein Society, lending a real weight to an already entertaining episode.
For the most part, stagings are fairly straight-forward, taking advantage of the lush greenery of Regent’s Park. And when the songs are this good, there’s not much need to that much more. Josefina Gabrielle oozes class as she sashays through Allegro’s ‘The Gentleman is a Dope’ and new graduates Tavio Wright and Ethlinn Rose put the bandstand to good use in a gorgeous ‘Sixteen Going On Seventeen’, complete with ecstatic dance break.
In a witty move, ‘Whistle A Happy Tune’ is retooled as a distraction technique as Caroline Sheen nervously awaits an audition. And in a hairs-on-end climactic moment, Michael Xavier – returning to the theatre where he gave such a memorable Captain – delivers a stunning medley of ‘Climb Every Mountain’ and ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ which really hits home how much the return to live performance is needed.
And director Timothy Sheader, musical supervisor & orchestrator Tom Deering and choreographer Drew McOnie do a great job of talking about how they have worked hard to conceive a reimagining of Carousel that can speak to modern times, something many other productions have failed at given how dark its themes are. It changed my mind about booking for the show I have to say.