Cassiopeia Berkeley-Agyepong, Chrissie Bhima and Michael Ahomka-Lindsay impress mightily in Young, Gifted & Black’s Musical Theatre Night at Theatre Peckham
“Point me toward tomorrow”
From the red velvet lushness of Crazy Coqs to Audra McDonald filling the Palladium and blowing its roof off, cabaret and concert gigs can offer great opportunities to get to know performers just a little better, away from but in addition to the roles we see them play on stage. So in the real intimacy of Theatre Peckham, getting to see Cassiopeia Berkeley-Agyepong, Chrissie Bhima and Michael Ahomka-Lindsay up close and personal was a real treat.
They were featuring in Theatre Peckham’s Young, Gifted & Black season as part of their Musical Theatre Night and over the course of an hour with MD Ashton Moore on the keys, we got to hear some spectacular singing. From Stephens Schwartz and Sondheim to Sister Act and Dreamgirls with a little soul and jazz thrown in for good measure, a wide-ranging setlist explored both the past and present of musical theatre, whilst making the case that they could well be leading performers of the future.
For Bhima, that chance was cruelly taken away from her by the untimely closing of Cinderella before she was due to take over the title role but the vocal colour and charisma she brought to the likes of Passion’s ‘I Wish I Could Forget You’ and A Chorus Line’s ‘What I Did For Love’ demonstrated she deserves much better material to work with when she undoubtedly will eventually lead a show.
Ahomka-Lindsay had a great summer charming his way through Legally Blonde (and will soon tackle Newsies), impressing with his crooning through Sweaty Eddie’s ‘I Could Be That Guy’ from Sister Act and making me instantly want to explore the cast recording of A Strange Loop with a gorgeous rendition of ‘Memory Song’ (seriously, how do we have MJ the bloody musical announced in the West End before this audacious Broadway show?).
And Berkeley-Agyepong’s sweet personality and vocal commitment shone through on a jazz medley, a song from Beauty and the Beast I wasn’t familiar with and the gorgeous ‘Meadowlark’ from The Baker’s Wife. For the talent on display, they deserved a much bigger audience but regardless, I was just glad to be in the room, having my spirits raised and trying to guess which of these will break into deserved stardom first.