The Secret Society of Leading Ladies, Barn Theatre | Review

February 21, 2021

The Secret Society of Leading Ladies
The Barn Theatre 

The Secret Society of Leading Ladies is a brand new musical theatre concert created and directed by the Barn Theatre’s Ryan Carter. The concert takes audiences into a world where some of your favourite musical theatre characters can co-exist in the same space regardless of era or genre. The event focuses on a variety of female musical theatre characters, ranging from princesses and dreamers to villains and divas. The concept allows theatre fans across the country to enjoy performances from some of the West End’s leading ladies from the comfort of their own home, and to invite a new audience to discover the world of musical theatre.

Digital theatre is currently the most popular way for the industry to connect with its audiences. This event however was unlike any streamed concert I have ever seen. What makes it so unique is that the audience is in complete control. Over the course of the concert, the viewer is presented with 5 'Choose Your Player' screens, which prompts them to decide the character they wish to introduce next. Each character is introduced with a short scene, before taking to the stage to perform a number. The concert is easy to navigate and has over 150 combinations for the viewer to choose from. 

There is something for everyone in this concert, with numbers from shows such as ‘Shrek’, ‘Waitress’, ‘Fame’, ‘Sister Act’ and many more. There is also an opportunity to view all variations of the concert by purchasing a 1 day access ticket so you can watch the stream as many times as you want. 

The concept for this concert is marvellous and each performance showed off the superb vocals of each cast member. I explored a variety of options and can confidently say you’re in for a treat whichever route you choose. The concert closes with a finale that features all 14 characters, providing the audience a chance to get a glimpse at all the characters involved.

The cast for the production features Jocasta Almgill (& Juliet, Rent, In The Heights, Dreamgirls), Lauren Byrne (Beautiful, Six), Kayla Carter (Rent), Aoife Clesham (Fiver), Allie Daniel (Rent), Abbi Hodgson (Six – NCL), Aisha Jawando (Tina the Musical, Motown the Musical, The Life, Beautiful), Claudia Kariuki (Priscilla Queen of The Dessert, School of Rock, Wicked), Natalie Kassanga (Dear Evan Hansen, Motown The Musical), Emma Kingston (The Last 5 Years, Zorro, Evita, Fiddler on the Roof, In The Heights),  Kayleigh McKnight (Bend It Like Beckham, Les Miserables, Tina the Musical, Jesus Christ Superstar), Ellie Mitchell (Chicago, Wicked), Jarnéia Richard-Noel (Six) and Kelly Sweeney (Hair, Six).

The creative team features Ryan Carter as Creative Director & Concept Creator, Leo Munby (The Last 5 Years, Gypsy, Company) as musical consultant, sound engineering by Harry Smith, editing by Ben Evans and videography by Jamie Scott-Smith.

The Secret Society of Leading Ladies exceeds all expectations when it comes to digital theatre. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, this concert is a new and creative concept demonstrating that virtual theatre can be just as strong as live theatre. 

The Secret Society of Leading Ladies is streaming from 22nd February till 7th March and tickets are available here

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