I almost added this to my previous blog on Isolation Entertainment, but I thought I would hold out until I had seen the “living room concert” for myself, and write a little piece about it.
It’s no secret that when Sharon Sexton and Rob Fowler say jump, I instinctively say how high? – but this really is a beautiful piece of craftmanship from the duo. The pair decided instead of doing a livestream concert like most, they would turn it into a gradual labour of love that we can press play and repeat on whenever we wish. Therefore, in approximately three weeks they produced GROUNDED – a concert from their living room to yours.
Fans of the duo will be familiar with a majority of the setlist they chose, and will be comforted by their warmth and humour – as it truly did feel like being back at one of their intimate Crazy Coq’s shows. For those who are less familiar, why not use this a chance to take a look into the wonderful world of Sexton and Fowler.
A majority of the songs featured were their original songs, which they premiered back in August last year at their Unplugged show (blog here). Following a nicely commentated introduction by the duo, opening the show once again was Lay Me Down Easy – and I think it’s the perfect ‘lounge’ song. It feels like that Sunday Morning brunch with the sunshine filtering onto your face kind of anthem. It’s the perfect easy opener. Swiftly onto Soho next, and its a favourite of mine simply because of the witty lyrics and toe-tapping beat – it was nice to notice a few little tweaks from the premiere in August though. We also got to hear the beautiful Open Arms, arguably one of the sweetest love songs you’ll ever hear, and the sucker-punching fan favourite of Dynamite. Among many other excellent originals that are well worth checking out – I’m still awaiting the full EP though! Perhaps that can be their next lockdown project…
As also mentioned in previous blogs, The Boy Next Door is a musical Rob Fowler co-wrote with the late Stephen Clarke. Rob and Sharon had booked a concert at Zedel in July, to finally do a full premiere concert of the music from this show – however with the uncertainty of times they decided to give a little snippet of the anticipated concert, with three fan favourites The Boy Next Door, Delight and Shadows (which we had a lovely new version of – where Sharon took on backing vocals as well as lead); with the addition of the premiere of Sign.
We also heard Rob sing a glorious and heartwarming cover of The Blower’s Daughter by Damien Rice, and Sharon sing The Island from Irish singer-songwriter Paul Brady acapella with all her Irish pride and notes floating out effortlessly.
Each track has a sweet, often comical, yet honest descriptive commentary of the song we are about to hear too. I personally loved this element of the show, as it made me feel even more connected to the duo and their music, but it felt almost like being at one of their shows again too. Just in a slightly more homely setting!
I loved the way it was shot too. The additional footage of their dog Steinman, nature and general homely items kept it interesting and unique. I found it strangely comforting, and somehow it just made me appreciate the little joys in life that are so key to us all right now. Despite limited resources and gradually editing against the clock to be on time for their release deadline, you can tell it was a labour of love and a fun project for them to create.
Whilst I may show some bias by being a fan, there’s no denying that Sexton and Fowler are two of the most talented individuals working in the theatre industry right now, and their passion for their craft and care for their fans is evident by the work put into this project. It’s clear to see why fans remain loyal.
If you’re already a fan, I urge you to get a copy. If you’re less familiar with the work of Sexton and Fowler, I encourage you to purchase a copy anyway and just be entertained with some good music for an hour of your time in lockdown.
To purchase a copy, send £10 via PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org, quote GROUNDED and you’ll be emailed a digital download and link.
You can also purchase their Vision of You show from Zedel in August 2019, which is also £10 to the same PayPal address. Enquire via the social media links for more information on that show.
Follow London Theatre Direct on Instagram for Sharon and Rob’s Lockdown Theatre Direct Instagram takeover on Wednesday 15th April too.