We Need a Little Christmas at the Actors Church Online
We Need a Little Christmas is a socially distanced variety show that celebrates the performing arts, streamed from the Actors Theatre in Covent Garden. Featuring The Vivienne (winner of Rupaul’s Drag Race UK) and renowned actor Simon Callow, among many others, this is a showcase of multi-generational British talent.
It isn’t as visually engaging as it could be: the stars perform solo (or occasionally with a choir) in the church against a backdrop of neatly wrapped pink presents and a regal Christmas tree. The evening features everyone’s favourite classic Christmas songs – from Silent Night to Jingle Bell Rock and a few originals – and the singers, plucked from the West End, are excellent, but this feels more like background music than a performance to actively engage with. Denise Welch and Amy Hart do a good job introducing the acts and make the experience more interactive, but something is missing to push We Need a Little Christmas from pleasant to great.
Highlights include a wonderful reading by Simon Callow of an early work by Charles Dickens, where the young writer describes his own experience of Christmas, and a bizarre but frequently hilarious scene where Maureen Lipman talks about lockdown on the phone. This segment is actually one of the few times COVID is mentioned specifically, and while the intention not to hone in on negativity is understandable, there’s a sense that the reason we really do need Christmas right now is missing.
We Need a Little Christmas was created prior to the new Tier 4 restrictions, which makes it a little hard to watch now that this year’s Christmas will in all likelihood be very different. It’s not revolutionary or the most exciting show on offer, but it does highlight the great range of performers who call the UK home and how much theatre is missed. It may be hard to feel festive right now, but at the very least this performance will bring a smile,
Photos: Bonnie Britain
We Need a Little Christmas is at the Actors Church Online from 21st December until 1st January 2021. For further information or to book visit stream.theatre’s website here.