The small, dynamic and vibrant Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester is a true gem, not only for the North but for musical theatre .
It’s been hit particularly hard by this lockdown and you can support it by watching a special on-line distancing concert it’s currently streaming of hits from the great shows of Rodgers and Hammerstein.
With messages and narrations from the likes of stage sensation Tracie Bennett, playwright Jonathan Harvey , tv’s Russell T Davies, and Corrie Favourite Denise Welch, you’ ll get just over an hour of fabulous solos and leave wanting more .
The brains behind the theatre , William Whelton and James Houston are a delightful pair of hosts and lead us with other guests through the history of each musical offering.
Joel Harper-Jackson gives us a very gentle , understated version of If I Loved You, staring plaintively out of his living room window. Sophie Louise-Dunn from the little-known Allegro sings the sarcastic The Gentleman Is A Dope, in front of red drapes and with flaming red hair – it’s a very Liza/Judy voice and stunning.
Keith Jack has an effortless, colourful baritone and when he’s old enough to play Emile in South Pacific his rendition of Some Enchanted Evening will be even better than here.
The musical theatre marvel that is Maria Friedman here sings a medley of King and I favourites – smiley, light and delightful. Worth the donation alone.
The Hope Mill was about to premiere a new stage adaptation of R and H’s Cinderella and it’s sad that Georgie Buckland, newly graduated wasn’t able to be on stage as Cinders, but here she shows she’s a talent to watch with her rendition of In My Own Little Corner, originated on tv by Julie Andrews.
There are too many others in this short show to mention in detail but Matthew Blaker, Julie Yammannee and Simbi Akande all shine in their own solos.
You can catch the show until Sunday 3 May.
I urge you to spend an hour in musical theatre land and support this wonderful gem of a venue, check them out