The Theatre Channel: Episode Six – Showstoppers at Stream.Theatre
The Theatre Channel Episode 6: Showstoppers starts with a compilation of stories told through several show tunes. This half of the show is an overall mixed bag of performances: some are feasts for both the eyes and ears, others lack visual stimulation, and a few odd ones out overshadow with extravagant stage presentation. The second half dives deep into Michael Bennett’s A Chorus Line as a tribute to the late choreographer, Bob Avian. This section is an informative look into the legacy of the production, discussed by Baayok Lee, Bennett’s then assistant choreographer, producer John Breglio, and actor Antonio Banderas.
While there is a lot to learn from the recounting of A Chorus Line, this part simply strolls down memory lane with a touch of theatre jargon. It’s uneventful, but still a very important segment. As for the performances themselves, There’s No Business Like Show Business provides a strong opening with steady vocals, setting the tone, immersed in an empty coffee shop: black uniforms and dim lights emit an absence of life as shops and the theatre prep for opening. This develops into an upbeat dance number, a smooth mix into the general tempo of the other performances.
Moving Too Fast is underwhelming, especially following the opening number. The camera movements are very erratic and unfocused; with the current prevalence of online theatre, angles and composition are very important in telling the story and maintaining aesthetics. Nonetheless, the costume coordination here is quite a feat, showcasing a variety of casual styles and everyday clothes, with neutral palettes that connect all the different pieces and colour accents. Fortunately, the episode gets back on its feet with Hold Me in Your Heart, with brilliant camerawork and editing – a catalyst for all the performances that follow it.
Who Will Love Me As I Am is clearly the highlight. Static, it only ever uses angle changes to illustrate and enhance the back-to-back looking into the mirror conceit. The music and vocals are fantastic, with clashing voices that harmonise in contrast, creating layers and texture to the already brilliant song choice. The second part sees a costume change, making use of lighting against sequins to add more dimension. The final shot, as the actors look onwards to the Siamese Twins poster, brings everything to full circle.
The Theatre Channel: Episode Six – Showstoppers is at Stream.Theatre from 21st May until 30th April 2022. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.
Watch a trailer for the production here: