Legends of Lockdown Live
- Vaudeville Theatre
- 9th June 2021
In town for just one night, Legends of Lockdown Live featured several acts spread over the two and half hour hosted event. The acts had all found viral acclaim on social media during the last year and a half and ranged from the discursive and down to earth Mufseen Miah and Spencer Cooper from the Queer Talk podcast; to the hilarious and blasé Naomi Cooper appearing as Phillipa. But this was part of the problem... the show felt disconnected and lacked a cohesion that variety shows desperately require. We constantly moved from high-energy performers and dance numbers to quieter, more cerebral comedy and discussion. With a competent MC the show could have delivered something meaningful, instead I’m left writing about a hodge podge.
With all that said, it is important to acknowledge that none of the acts left me disappointed — in fact, I came away having thoroughly enjoyed what each of the acts had to offer. Topping the lot was the wonderful Austyn Farrell whose appearance as the Greatest Showman and Quarantina Turner had the room ablaze. Having not seen his viral videos prior to the production, I was struck not only by his dancing ability but by the level of character (and Tina-isms) he is able to convey through a relatively short performance. It really is no surprise that he has found a west-end role dancing in Alyssa, Memoirs of a Queen (also at the Vaudeville theatre).
Turning our attention to the hosts, Kerry Boyne and Sooz Kempner, it was immediately obvious that this was not the job for them. Boyne seemed as though she would be more at home on the small screen; there was an energy and a dynamism missing from her hosting that would have helped keep the audience engaged and, importantly, help them keep track of what is going on. Kempner got a few laughs from me but did not provide the lynch pin this show so desperately needed. As a production, there was little to tie everything together other than the oft repeated narrative that live performance is important and necessary, and the last year has been devastating for the theatre industry. Of course, this is all true. We are all exhausted and all in need of the escapism live theatre provides; what we don’t need is half-hearted politicisations designed to get a lazy cheer from an audience who came to have a good time.