The events of this year has meant that many performers have been separated from their friends and co-stars for more time than anyone ever predicted. Luckily, a brand new concert series has been created with the aim to do one thing – get them back in the same room together.
Reunited is a four part series which does what it says on the tin – reunites cast members past and present from some of the biggest shows in the West End. This review covers the first two episodes:
Episode One - Unlimited: The Songs of Stephen Schwartz
Stephen Schwartz is one of the best loved modern composers. His works include The Prince of Egypt, Godspell, Pippin and Wicked. The first episode of Reunited brings together cast members from The Prince of Egypt as well as a host of performers who have performed in Wicked.
Kicking off with the great man himself on piano, you get a sense of grandeur right from the beginning. Cutting to eight incredible West End performers sitting in a luxury hotel, you wonder if there has ever been so much talent gathered in such a small space. As well as some of his most iconic numbers such as ‘Magic To Do’ from Pippin, some not so familiar songs were included ‘Meadowlark’ from The Baker’s Wife tackled by the always wonderful Dianne Pilkington, and ‘The Spark Of Creation’ from Children of Eden – showcasing Schwartz’s talents lie beyond his biggest shows and most iconic songs.
His newest musical The Prince of Egypt got a beautiful nod to its most famous song with ‘When You Believe’ performed by Alice Fearn and Nikki Bentley having a true Elphaba-off. It almost felt like anything from Wicked wasn’t going to be performed, which would be a shame given the fact they had a cackle (the official plural) of Elphabas present, but they truly saved the best for last. ‘For Good’ is the jewel in Schwartz’s crown – pure musical theatre perfection. This time around it was performed by Nikki Bentley, Sophie Evans, Alice Fearn, Alexia Khadime and Dianne Pilkington. It may have been the only Wicked song of the night but boy was it worth the wait. Absolute heaven.
Episode Two – Oops… I Streamed It Again!
The second episode focused on the cast of &Juliet. Another group of incredibly talented performers gathered together, albeit in a far less luxurious looking space this time – to perform a collection of songs. Kicking off with a jazzy version of Britney Spears ‘Oops… I Did It Again’ the show then took a far more random turn, with a series of varied numbers.
Cassidy Janson reunited with her &Juliet stage husband and former love interest in Wicked Oliver Tompsett (making his second Reunited appearance in a row) to deliver a beautiful rendition of ‘As Long As You’re Mine’ – giving us more Schwartz we desperately craved after episode one. Musical theatre continued with Grace Mouat declaring “It wouldn’t be a Grace gig if there was no Disney” before singing ‘Journey To The Past’ from Anastasia (technically not a Disney movie but she can be forgiven) and duetting with Jordan Luke Gage on ‘All I’ve Ever Known’ from Hadestown.
Jordan Luke Gage did a blinding solo with a ridiculously incredible vocal on David Bowie’s ‘Life On Mars’, there was great banter between Tim Mahendran and Oliver Tompsett on their duet, talking about how much they missed seeing each other and giving you an insight into their bromance, and a highlight of the show came from Cassidy Janson in true powerhouse vocal style on a gorgeous ‘Get Here’.
Ending the set with ‘Kissing You’ from the movie Romeo & Juliet was a genius touch – however this served as a bookend to what was a disjointed set. Opening with a song from &Juliet, the rest of the numbers felt very random and could have benefited from a more cohesive theme. Rather than perform songs from the show, other Max Martin songs that weren’t included or even other songs that could have suited their characters could have been some ways to tie something consistent around the songs. That is not to take away from how talented the cast are and how brilliant their performances were, it just lacked the consistency we got with the previous episode.
Overall, Reunited is a brilliant idea. Giving such an amazing group of performers the chance to work together again (for some, it is far longer than the 9 months since theatres closed) is a brilliant opportunity – emotional and incredibly satisfying for them and for us to watch. Both episodes are definitely worth a watch but the Stephen Schwartz episode just pips the other for me.
The first three episodes (including a Six reunion in Girl Power) are available to stream now on https://thespie.com with a Christmas special released on Monday 21st December