The Secret Society of Leading Ladies

Opening Night verdict ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Reviewed by Nikki Cotter

Almost a year since theatres went dark due to the Coronavirus pandemic the innovation and commitment to making art for audiences continues to shine.

Using online platforms, theatres across the country have been creating incredible and varied content offering theatregoers access to performances despite the current challenges.

The Barn Theatre have taken this online streaming approach a step further with their latest offering, ‘The Secret Society of Leading Ladies’. This impressive piece of theatre marries an online concert with ‘Choose Your Player’ computer game style technology allowing audiences to curate their very own theatre experience.

Conceived and directed by the Barn Theatre’s Ryan Carter, the concert offers a showcase for the archetypes of Female Musical Character, one moment you are in blissful harmony with princesses and dreamers the next divas and infamous villains demand your attention, the choice is entirely yours.

I chose to begin my experience with the sublime voice of Jarnéia Richard-Noel singing a defiant and celebratory version of ‘I Didin’t Plan It’ from Waitress, next up was a note perfect performance of the beautiful ‘Journey To The Past’ from Anastasia by Lauren Byrne. After Byrne’s emotive number I decided to introduce some sass with Ellie Mitchelle’s delicious performance of When You’re Good to Mama’ from Chicago.

Next came a real highlight of the experience for me with Jocasta Almgill’s personality packed performance of ‘Everybody’s Girl’ from Steel Pier, hugely entertaining and fantastically delivered. My final selection was Emma Kingston’s stunning version of ‘Dyin Aint So Bad’ from Bonnie and Clyde, her striking vocals left me wanting more, thankfully the finale of ‘Big Finish’ gave me just that with a superb ensemble number where each of the leading ladies had the chance to take centre stage, uplifting, joyous and entirely fitting to bring this glittering showcase to a close.

The performances alone are knockout, the variety a joy but in addition to this the ladies interact with each other in between numbers cementing this format as one of the most innovative you’re likely to see. A truly unique and hugely entertaining offering.

The Secret Society of Leading Ladies is running online from Monday 22 February until Sunday 7th March, tickets available via https://barntheatre.org.uk/barn-at-home