Bristol Theatre Reviews

The Secret Society of Leading Ladies Review

The Secret Society of Leading Ladies from Barn Theatre is a fresh concept in musical theatre

Wow, what a thoroughly enjoyable fresh take on musical theatre, one which embraces digital possibilities and puts the viewer in control with a Choose Your Player device.

The premise is very simple. A series of musical theatre characters arrive one-by-one to The Secret Society of Leading Ladies. Initially, they have no idea who has organised the event, something the viewer in some versions decide.

You choose who starts the show, then you get to choose after each song who your next player is. There are around 150 different combinations, with each character interacting with the other chosen characters before and after each song. The gaming interface allows you to select players by their tokens. The novelty doesn’t get old no matter how many times you view.

The intimate staging and atmospheric lighting makes you feel like you’ve stumbled across a secret underground event that is invitation only. Whilst there is nothing like the experience of live theatre, this made for the internet show is one that doesn’t lose its impact.

The concert lasts for 30 minutes with a single watch ticket. This includes 5 performances and a finalé. But a day pass is the best option. This will give you multiple opportunities to watch the 14 different characters and it’s definitely worth doing. Once you’ve watched it a couple of times as a concert, it’s nice to have playing in the background while you work.

This show is a great concept and it would be brilliant to see it expanded with different songs, different possibilities, different options or different themes.

Barn Theatre’s Ryan Carter came up with the concept, which aimed to put the audience in charge of female musical theatre characters from different universes – both goodies and baddies. The wonderfully diverse cast perform a great balance of songs from shows including Mean Girls, Waitress, Sister Act, The Wizard of Oz, Kinky Boots and Into the Woods.

This show is the perfect antidote to a quite miserable dark rainy month. If you love a bit of musical theatre, this shakes up the genre in a new way, giving the form an exciting direction for current and new audiences.

The Society of Leading Ladies is available online from the Barn Theatre, from Monday 22 February – Sunday 07 March 2021.

For more information or to book, visit: