Musicals by Candlelight is an experience guaranteed to give you goosebumps and leave you with a smile. From the choice of show tunes to the venue, it is a well-planned and fantastically curated endeavour, one I was very happy to embark on it.

 Credit: Mayumi Hirata

Walking into the iconic Actors’ Church (St. Paul’s) in Covent Garden, a warm glimmer welcomes you. Hundreds of (artificial) candles are set up and among them, four chairs are awaiting the wonderful women of Icon Strings, our quartet for the night. If you have never seen a Candlelight production, this is your sign to do so!

The ensemble perform a well-curated selection of fast-paced hits and ballads which make your heart cry (Moulin Rouge pun intended). Kicking off with one of my all-time favourites, ‘El Tango de Roxanne’, the tone of the evening is aptly set. It is particularly enjoyable to see how much fun the four women have with their performances, especially when they were engaging in the playful banter that is iconic of West Side Story’s ‘America’. As a fan of classical music in general, I appreciated how Icon Strings adapted the arrangements. Although most of the songs need no introduction, at least not with the present audience, the insights and theatre trivia they provide in between every other song is an interesting twist. Two things which stuck with me were that Andrew Lloyd Webber found The Phantom of the Opera whilst rifling through old books,(side note: it is a fantastic read and I absolutely recommend it) and that Mary Poppins’ ‘Feed the Birds’ may have been Walt Disney’s favourite song as it is referring to giving back to charity – what a wonderful thought! Oh, and that the quartet chose Hamilton’s ‘Helpless’ for their production as it was the only song that could be adapted for their instruments without the Viola rapping; A shame actually, as both her and I (and probably the majority of the audience) would have wanted to see that.

Without giving away too much more of the set list, let me finish by saying that Icon String’s arrangement of ‘Pretty Woman’ gave me Bridgerton vibes, and if you are anticipating season three as much as I do, you might understand why I feel this could absolutely be one of the theme songs for our next couple.

An hour is definitely not enough, and I could have sat there for hours. The world-class musicians, who are internationally successful and can be heard on iconic soundtracks such as Downton Abbey and The Matrix are stealing the spotlight in their own show. I wanted to close my eyes but also not miss any moment in the fantastic atmosphere of the Actors’ Church. You can catch Musicals by Candlelight until the 10th of June, and it is worth a visit.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

{🎟 AD – PR invite – Tickets were gifted in exchange for an honest review}

2 Star Review 3 Star Review 4 Star Review 5 Star Review 2022 2023 Adaptation Almeida Cabaret Camden Fringe Cast Announcement Christmas Comedy Dance Drag Edinburgh Fringe Edinburgh Fringe Interviews Fringe Immersive Interviews Jukebox Musical LGBTQIA+ Lyric Hammersmith Manchester Musical New Musical News New Wimbledon Theatre North West Off West End Park Theatre Play Review Revival Richmond Theatre Round Up Royal Court Theatre Shakespeare Show Announcement Show Recommendations Soho Theatre Southwark Playhouse Touring Production VAULT Festival West End

    The infamous Sh!t Faced Showtime are back in London with a festive edition, they have taken Dickens’ classic and put a drunken spin on it. The formula is the same as other iterations of the Shi!t Faced shows, one member of the cast has been boozing, and this time it is John Milton who plays Scrooge. Before the show, half a bottle of Jim Beam, some wine, and beer have been consumed in the previous 4 hours. The rest of the cast, try to keep the show on track, also aided by James Murfitt as the compere, Charles Dickens. The … More A PISSEDMAS CAROL – REVIEW – LEICESTER SQUARE
    Spine-tingling yet heart-warming, Mark Gatiss’s retelling of A Christmas Carol truly encapsulates the haunting atmosphere of a Victorian ghost story, balanced out with enough humour so as to capture the festive season. Led by Keith Allen as Scrooge, with Peter Forbes as Marley, this show is perfect for Christmas viewing. The set design by Paul Wills is instantly captivating, containing stacks of metal cabinets towering over the theatre, moveable by the cast to allow space for other central props like doors, beds and tables. In addition to this, the puppetry design by Matthew Forbes is incredibly clever, adding creepy elements to the show such … More A CHRISTMAS CAROL – REVIEW – ALEXANDRA PALACE
    The title of this winner of Theatre 503’s 2023 International Playwriting Award by Roxy Cook may seem like the set-up to a joke, but the narrative that unspools is instead an affectionate, gently barbed and at base quite sobering portrait of three ordinary souls (and one restless feline) adrift in modern Moscow. There is much affable, satirical back-and-forth commentary on the accepted myths & stereotypes of the Russian spirit & soul. Beset by the indignities of age, opportunism, graft, fatigue, the characters orbit one another, doomed to play out their roles in an unjust, predatory and saturnine universe. The play opens … More A WOMAN WALKS INTO A BANK – REVIEW – THEATRE503
    Peter Pan Goes Wrong first premiered in London at the Pleasance Theatre in 2013, and earlier this year the show made its Broadway debut. Now the production is back in the West End for the Christmas season. Following on from The Play That Goes Wrong, in this production, J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan is staged by the fictitious Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society and goes awry, disastrously so. The meta-comedy is filled with slapstick comedy, sometimes the humour may be predictable and silly, but it’s universally funny throughout – there is something for everyone here, and the laughs come thick and fast … More PETER PAN GOES WRONG – REVIEW – LYRIC THEATRE
    Drawing heavily from the classic canon of the British supernatural, HighTide’s trio of contemporary Gothic narratives uses traditional storytelling formats to address contemporary themes. Directed by Elayce Ismail, reverent musical interludes accompany tales of apparitions and nighttime conjurings that speak of women from the East of England. Unfortunately, the effect is less chilling and more lightweight, with conventional structures, predictable plot twists and an over-reliance on external forces to drive narrative shoring up some of the less relatable aspects of the genre. Nicola Werenowska’s The Beach House, perhaps the cleanest of the three tales, tells of a mother and daughter’s … More GHOST STORIES BY CANDLELIGHT – REVIEW – SAM WANAMAKER PLAYHOUSE

Leave a Reply