The Soft Sessions series gives West End stars the chance to sing other songs rather than musical theatre numbers. In this short concert, performers from Hamilton, Six and Dear Evan Hansen (among others) sing laid-back versions of songs by the likes of Beyoncé and Luther Vandross. The result is easy as a Sunday morning.
It begins with a duet between Grace Mouat (surely one of the hardest working performers over the last year) and Courtney Stapleton. The pair sing Teach You originally by Emily King and Sara Bareilles and its jazzy Latin vibes is the perfect beginning, and their voices blend beautifully together.
Indeed, the duets are the highlight of this concert filmed at Woolwich Warehouse by Callum Heinrich. Stapleton returns to sing Hide and Seek (Blue) with Eloise Davies and their voices delight in their lively cover of the song by Fatai. It is a real shame that the track is not longer as it perhaps proves to be the best moment in the whole piece. But Jake Halsey-Jones and Danielle Fiamanya come a close second with their version of Luther Vandross’s Never Too Much. Only accompanied by Harrison Wilde’s guitar, their smooth rich voices conjure up summer.
Another upbeat offering is Mouat’s mash-up of Happy Together and My Funny Valentine. The latter can often be one of the saddest songs in the world (Matt Damon in The Talented Mr Ripley?) but Mouat and musical director Alex Beetschen give it a lighter touch than normal. However, the remaining songs are decidedly melancholic like Martha Kirby’s version of Beyoncé’s bitter Resentment and Halsey-Jone’s All Fired Up, originally performed and written by Australia Idol winner Matt Corby. The concert ends with on another downbeat stunner: Fiamanya’s take on Runnin’ ( Loose It All) by Naughty Boy and Beyoncé.
With the concert barely lasting 35 minutes, you don’t get much for your money, and this running time is fluffed up with interviews with the cast that aren’t necessary at all, and you’ll wished they’d ditched them in favour of a few more songs. It’s all over in a flash, unfortunately. Let’s hope that after the pandemic the Soft Sessions can be performed in front of a live audience and last a good deal longer.
Runs here until 2 May 2021