Fresh out of drama school with degree in hand, stepping into the spotlight for the first time can be daunting even for the most confident of performers. However, careers about to launch have been placed on hold while theatre prepares to re-start. Graduates at Cadogan Hall therefore represents the perfect showcase for some of the brightest young talent. Episode 2, presented by Luke Bayer, features 13 performers who graduated in 2020 and 2021. With all proceeds going to Acting for Others it felt doubly important to give this show a look.
A smartly lit stage surrounds each performer with a crescent of spotlights; soft pastel colours glow in the background as a solo pianist provides raw accompaniment. Performances are broken down by video messages of support from established artists including Bonnie Langford, Victoria Hamilton-Barritt, Oliver Thompsett and Sophie Thompson. The mic was taken with a sense purpose and efficiently passed along like a baton in a relay race.
First up is Jennifer Adab with a powerful rendition of Me and the sky from Come Far Away. Georgia Lennon delivers a spine tingling, note perfect reading of Second Hand White Baby Grand from hit TV show Smash. Curtis Patrick captures a unique and quirky performance with Way ahead of my time; while Harriet Walters bravely tackles Carol King’s Natural woman and pulls it off with aplomb. Henry Shine grabs his guitar and took us in a new direction with the folk inspired It all fades away. India Chadwick displays an impressive vocal range on Spring; in total contrast David Mairs McKenzie nails Donny Hathaway’s classic A song for you. Fallon Mondlane lands a barnstorming vocal on The life I never led from Sister Act and Faye Wheeler makes the most of Journey to the past. This baker’s dozen is completed by Mark Lockhart (Hero and leander), Olivia Lallo (Go the distance) Niels Bouwmeester (Something to hold onto)and Joely Colleen Emms (Jenny’s Blues) who brings the show to a fitting climax.
All perform superbly and deserve this opportunity to present their talents to a watching world. I look forward to seeing all of them on stage in future, when I can say I remember when they first started out. I wish them the very best of luck.
Musical director and accompanist by: Sam Young
Produced by: Ameena Hamid for Ameena Hamid Productions, Liam Gartland and Alice Croft for the Grad Fest
Graduates at Cadogan Hall Series consists of three separate performances and is available to watch on-demand at Encore Theatre until 11 April. All information, including booking details, can be found via the below link.