Remembering the Oscars Online
Remembering the Oscars sees Strictly Come Dancing fan favourites Aljaž Škorjanec and Janette Manrara take to the stage in an affectionate tribute to a selection of Oscar-nominated films, soundtracks and choreography. It’s an ambitious venture indeed, however the end result is ultimately rather underwhelming.
With the full tour postponed until 2022, this hour-long digital production (directed and choreographed by Gareth Walker) acts as a teaser of sorts for what fans can expect when they see the show live. Performed to a very Covid-safe audience of exactly no one on a borderline restrictive specially built stage, it’s clear from the first count of eight that some major adjustments have been made in order for the show to go ahead.
It begins with a montage of iconic Hollywood movie posters superimposed with Manrara and Škorjanec’s faces onto them, followed by a quite literal red-carpet entrance: expectations are set pretty high from the start. What comes next however, is a vaguely memorable assortment of dance routines, set against an LED backdrop with questionable special effects, that haphazardly cuts from one segment to the next. This is undoubtedly an unfortunate consequence of compressing a much longer show into what is essentially a 60-minute preview.
The group numbers, while enthusiastic, mostly serve as reminders of what could be if not for the coronavirus restrictions limiting both their scale and length. In an homage to the now defunct Best Choreography Oscar however, the performances to Singin’ in the Rain and Chicago’s All That Jazz, really showcase the ensemble’s talent. It’s the Mary Poppins medley in particular that leaves an impression, though (in an ode to Disney), and demonstrates just how much promise the full-scale production has.
In typical fashion, Škorjanec and Manrara steal the show, their trademark chemistry and undeniable skill taking centre stage in both the recreation of the tango from Scent of a Woman and contemporary number to Des’ree’s Kissing You (from Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet soundtrack). Singer Janine Johnson is also a highlight, with her powerful vocals making light work of everything from Barbra Streisand’s The Way We Were to Evita’s You Must Love Me.
While it’s admirable that the couple have attempted to come up with something to satisfy fans until the live tour, the altered format ultimately results in something more akin to hastily reimagined filler than jaw-dropping spectacle.
Remembering the Oscars promises to come back bigger and better next year. Here’s hoping that, once the production is fully realised, it will.
Photo: Ryan X Howard
Remembering the Oscars is available to stream from 27th March until 17th April 2021. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.