A show I was really looking forward to and a theatre I love dearly – this mustn’t be the end for either DIVA: LIVE FROM HELL or the Jack Studio Theatre
“So sit down, shut up and listen to my story”
A musical riffing on All About Eve? Check.
An exciting performer fresh from a stand-out turn in Operation Mincemeat? Check.
An award-winning fringe theatre with some of the friendliest folk in town? Check.
Any show that refers to itself as eternal campy torment automatically goes to the top of my list and I had high hopes for DIVA: LIVE FROM HELL, a one-man musical with book and characters by Sean Patrick Monahan and music & lyrics by Alexander Sage Oyen. Not least because it was going to give us another chance to see Jak Malone up close and intimately, his Hester having proven to be an extraordinary thing (well worth checking out if/when Operation Mincemeat returns).
For now though, the Jack Studio Theatre has suspended all performances until June 2020.
No. No, no, no. No. The fact that The Post has any Oscar nominations is testament to how much in thrall to star power the Academy is. And fair enough, the trifecta of Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep is a weighty one. But this is a dull film, rushed through production to try and capitalise on topicality, that is being severely over-recognised here.
For a composer who hasn’t had a major show on over here, Scott Alan inspires an amazing amount of evangelical joy from his fans. This has come from a series of albums and concerts in which his songwriting has been showcased by a wide-ranging collection of Broadway and West End stars, culminating in a rapturously received residency at the St James Theatre a couple of months ago. I like his work, having previously reviewed a couple of his albums, but I haven’t been as ecstatic as some about it so I thought I’d go back to the ones I hadn’t listened to.
His double album Liveoffers reworkings of many of his songs and mixes things up further by retaining many of his frequent collaborators but letting them loose on different songs, even switching up genders on some of them. It’s a great move – Natalie Weiss smashes the joyful ‘I’m A Star’, Laura Osnes wraps her delicate voice beautifully around ‘Now’ and Jeremy Jordan is charming as ever on ‘Please Don’t Let Me Go’ and that’s all in the opening five songs. The slightly indulgent length of the album means we don’t always maintain such intense quality over both discs plus bonus tracks.