Vaudeville Theatre (venue)
10 June 2021 (released)
There’s something about sitting in a half empty theatre which has always made me sad – for the performers, the theatre staff and production people whose efforts, at that moment, are under appreciated. I was therefore more than a little apprehensive attending my first socially distanced performance. Pre-arrival health questionnaire completed, app sign-in completed, temperature checked and masked, I took my socially distanced seat.
The thumping disco soundtrack begins and the superb dancers (Austyn Farrell, Luke Vella, Alex Brown and Billy Sawyer) leap into view. They vanish and the music fades to thunder and rain. On the shadowy stage, a glamorous figure with suspiciously drizzle-defying hair styling is suddenly lit up in the spotlight. Will she speak?
Even better: she tongue pops (if you know, you know). And the audience erupts with cheers. If the theatre is at reduced capacity, you wouldn’t know it from the glorious collective noise of this appreciative crowd. Miss Alyssa tells us how pleased she is to be in the West End, and we are just as pleased to be here in her company. Deftly, she takes us all in hand (even the rowdy ones) and as if we are sitting backstage in her dressing room, bids us fetch her a Red Bull (don’t forget the straw) and treats us to some of Mama Edwards’ best stories, looks, lip syncs and dancing. As she says herself, ‘I can do this all evening – entertain y’all’, and she certainly can.
Go! By the end you’ll be dancing in the aisles and feeling about as far from sad as it’s possible to be.
At the Vaudeville Theatre, London until 13 June.