Streaming service Thespie have been treating us over the past month with their genius new series Reunited. Bringing back together cast members from shows that have either been able to perform due to the pandemic and even some shows from the past, previous episodes have focused on the casts of Wicked, The Prince of Egypt, &Juliet and Six as well as a Christmas spectacular.
The series comes to an end (for now) with two more brilliant episodes reuniting the casts of Pretty Woman and Heathers. Here's what both episodes were like:
Episode Five - Never Give Up On A Dream
The cast of Pretty Woman had a hard time of it in 2020. The West End transfer of the hit Broadway show had barely been running for a month before the pandemic shut it down. The star of that show, Aimie Atkinson, is also Thespie's creative producer so has taken the iniaitive to reassemble her cast mates for a one off concert. Joining her are Jemma Alexander, Hannah Ducharme, Bob Harms, Serina Mathew, Rachael Wooding, Joanna Woodward and Charlotte Yorke.
'Never Give Up On A Dream' primarily focuses on Pretty Woman, with three songs from the show present including two big solo numbers for Aimie on 'Anywhere But Here' and the standout 'I Can't Go Back' as well as the inspiring message that lends itself to the title of this episode.
The theme of Pretty Woman branches out beyond the musical with a wonderful duet of 'It Must Have Been Love' as featured in the movie, this time performed by Aimie and Rachael Wooding. The two speak about how they don't get to sing together in the show so have the time of their lives relishing this opportunity to perform together. The pair also do a stunning version of Bryan Adams classic long-running number one 'Everything I Do (I Do It For You)'. Adams penned the songs for the musical version of Pretty Woman so was a genius way to expand the theme.
Other highlights include the seven women performing a sensational rendition of 'Somebody To Love' from We Will Rock You, and Jemma Alexander and Charlotte Yorke duetting on theatre favourite 'For Good' from Wicked. Rachel Wooding revisits her Britain's Got Talent audition song for what was undoubtedly one of the shows highlights with a breathtakingly gorgeous version of 'With You from Ghost.
Overall this was a fantastic episode of the series with great song choices and incredibly performances pulled together with a (mostly) cohesive theme. This was one of the strongest episodes of the series and had me longing to see Pretty Woman in the theatre. I'll be there as soon as it reopens.
Episode Six - Together Again
In 2018 Jodie Steele, Sophie Isaacs and T'Shan Williams were cast as the three Heathers in The Other Palace production of Heathers. The show was a sensation, transferring to the West End, having a cast recording and winning over legions of fans. Since the show has closed, the three ladies have gone on to perform in shows such as The Color Purple and Six but many have longed to see them perform together one more time. Today they get their wish with this special Heathers episode of Reunited.
The three perform a mix of musical theatre and chart hits both solo and as a group. T'Shan Williams delivers a moving 'I Hate The Bus' from Caroline, Or Change, Jodie Steele surprises us as well as her co-stars with a different tone to her voice in 'When I Look At You' from The Scarlet Pimpernel as well as a rousing 'The Wizard and I' from Wicked, and Sophie Isaacs attempts to lift our spirits with 'I See Stars' from Mean Girls which would have perhaps done the job if it wasn't for the timing. Singing that the day the show was announced to be closing was too emotional.
Where the group shine are on the group numbers. With 'One Night Only' from Dreamgirls and of course a bit of Heathers on the unforgettable 'Candy Store', the standout number was their beautiful performance of 'Never Enough' from The Greatest Showman complete with amazing harmonies. The girls are clearly having the time of their life performing together again. The chemistry is clear to see and the banter between them is hilarious. Spontaneous singalongs of 'Come On Eileen' and Lemar's '50/50' (Ask your mum) add to the chaotic energy that fills this episode with the fun the three are having bouncing off of the screen.
Where the concert unfortunately comes unstuck is in the lack of cohesion. The strongest episodes in this series have all had themes keeping it all together. This one felt a bit too random and that sadly let it down slightly. While the three performers are undoubtedly three of the most talented in the industry and could sing literally anything, I would have liked to have seen something a bit more consistent tying all of the different song choices together.
That said, the sheer fun they were having more than made up for what could have come across as some odd song choices. The sheer talent of Jodie, Sophie and T'Shan is simply outstanding. I adored seeing them all in Heathers and can't wait to see what each of them does next.
Reunited has been an incredible series and an absolute triumph for Thespie. Giving us the opportunity to see cast members from shows we love back together again has been an experience that have helped put a smile on so many of our faces... not to mention how much it clearly means for the performers to be back in a room with their friends. Let's hope more episodes are added to this series soon. Perhaps a bit of Dear Evan Hansen in the future? Let's hope so.
All six episodes of the Reunited series are still available to stream now on https://thespie.com