WORTH A LOOK?: ****
WHERE? online at Leave A Light On RUNTIME: missed 20 minutes, saw 25
I haven’t seen my mum since lockdown, our phone call lasts longer than I expected and I miss the first 20 minutes of the finale of this 10-week musical theatre livestream fundraising triumph.
- Read on for reasons including how to see Knight in the West End next
The Leave A Light On festival was launched in lockdown by Lambert Jackson Productions and the Theatre Cafe and was an opportunity to pay to watch livestreams of musical theatre performers doing 72 lockdown sets.
It was occasionally frustrating because sometimes, as above, real life gets in the way and, like a live theatre performance, if you were late, you missed it.
But also, like a live theatre performance, there was a real sense of excitement and the chance to see a favourite star in an unfamiliar setting. Read our festival reviews of performances by Nathaniel Morrison, Jordan Luke Gage, Marisha Wallace, Tim Mahendran and the lovely Fra Fee.
Knight mentions the need for Government funding of theatre because it has been decimated by COVID-19 and will be one of the last industries to be able to re-open because social distancing doesn’t really work in theatres which need to be between 60 and 90 per cent full to be viable.
We’d echo this call (if you want to support your favourite theatre, details of what you can expect if you become a member are here) but Government will likely be looking for any future investment to come as a reset moment with a commitment from theatre to become more accessible.
Theatres need to think about putting themselves at the hearts of the communities they serve, putting on material that more people want to see, lowering ticket prices and lowering the ladder to allow career opportunities to local people.
We were never big fans of Knight’s pop career but she blew the roof off last year’s Eurythmics Songbook gig at the Southbank Centre and it’s in the more conservative world of musical theatre where her big voice finds its most appreciative home.
Fittingly the first song we see in full is Memory, one of the few redeeming features of Cats, and it is her interpretation of nostalgia and regret that lingers longest in our grey cells.
She closes with I’m Every Woman which featured in her West End show The Bodyguard and it proves she can pull off an uptempo key change with the best of them.
Leave A Light On has been a welcome distraction during lockdown, an opportunity to help performers make ends meet at a difficult time and a reminder why theatres need to re-open safely and soon.