West End LIVE 2015 is history. I have a mixture of sadness and joy for all the emotions shared in Trafalgar Square during the weekend. It’s a unique theatrical experience that I’m very glad to enjoy for a second year. After this amazing weekend, I will remember forever all the performances, the surprises, the songs, the great voices, the passion in the crowd and the applauses. Now, I can’t wait for next year edition of the festival, which sure will be better year after year.
Let’s start by Saturday. It was the most exciting day, with lots of performances from the biggest shows in London. I was in the queue from 8 o’clock because I wanted to be close to the stage and don’t miss any detail. I wasn’t disappointed by any; all of the performances were great. While I was waiting in the queue, the girls from ‘Billy Elliot’ were very close to me, because they wanted to see the rest of performances too. When it was their turn to be on stage, the mothers were shouting and encouraging them. I think it was so cute.
The day started with ‘The Commitments’, a show that is playing in the Palace Theatre but sadly will close on the 1st November. To be honest, I think it’s the best way to start the day, because they inject a lot of adrenaline and good mood with their songs from the very beginning, so you are happy from 11 o’clock. I’m not sure it’s a show that I will see before they close, because I’m not a big fan of jukebox musicals, but I enjoyed their performance so much, it was great.
Then it’s time for big musicals. ‘Billy Elliot’ is the first one to open this section, celebrating this year its 10 anniversary at the Apollo Theatre. In this case, there was Ollie Jochim as Billy and Todd Bell as Michael. They did a very nice medley with lots of dancers girls. It was very nice to see, these guys are amazing, it’s unbelievable how great talented they are being so young. For sure they will be stars of the West End in the future.
After that came ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’, a musical that is playing at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane that I’m really looking forward to see, especially after their show in West End LIVE 2015. Last year they performed ‘Pure Imagination’ with great effects on the screen on their back. But this year they chose a song with Augustus Gloop, one of my favourite characters from the book. It was really funny and colourful, so definitely I will get some tickets as soon as I can.
The biggest surprise of the day was with ‘Wicked’, a show that you can see at the Apollo Victoria Theatre. The presenters announced that they weren’t performing on the stage. I got disappointed at the beginning thinking: ‘Oh, no! No ‘Wicked’ this year?’. But don’t worry, Emma Hatton, who is playing Elphaba now, was at the balcony of the building next to Trafalgar Square, the Canada House. It was very original and stunning, of course she performed ‘Defying Gravity’.
The winner of this year’s Olivier Awards came after. ‘Sunny Afternoon’ is playing at the Harold Pinter Theatre. It’s a jukebox with songs from the British band The Kinks, which I’m not very familiar with. So they did it very well, but I don’t know any of their songs, so it was kind of boring for me. But I’m sure it’s a good show, because they won the MasterCard Best New Musical and John Dagleish won the award for the Best Actor and George Maguire the award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical.
Then it was ‘Memphis’ turn. It’s a show that you can see at the Shaftesbury Theatre until October, when it’s closing. Beverly Knight, then, will play Grizabella in the ‘Cats’ comeback. She performed ‘Colored Woman’ and all the fans of the show on the front row (and everybody on Trafalgar Square, actually) were delighted for her voice range. She is amazing, like all the cast of the show. You must get your ticket before it closes soon. After that, Killian Donnelly performed ‘The Music Of My Soul’. He is leaving the show soon, to join the cast of ‘Kinky Boots’ at the Adelphi Theatre. Finally, everybody performed ‘Steal your Rock ‘N’ Roll’. I love this show so much.
‘Matilda’ joined the stage after ‘Memphis’. It’s a musical that has been running at the Cambridge Theatre for almost for years already. It’s a wonderful and very emotional show that I truly recommend to see if possible. Like Sunday, they performed ‘Naughty’. I think it’s quite disappointing, because they have lots of songs they can show. I understand that maybe it’s better to make Matilda perform all alone and not the whole cast, but she has another solo, ‘Quiet’, which is great too. But I think that ‘Naughty’ has lot of humour sense, that’s why they chose that one.
The Cameron Mackintosh productions came to the stage one after another. First, ‘Miss Saigon’, a brilliant show that you can see in the Prince Edward Theatre. It was the same performance like last year, but I enjoyed it anyway. This year, they presented the new cast. They started with ‘Bui Doi’ and then Kim, Eva Noblezada, and the new Chris, Chris Peluso, performed ‘The Last Night Of The World’. Then, ‘This Is The Hour’ with the whole cast. It was stunning. This year, the organizers of West End LIVE decided to use a camera crane so they can show on the screens how the crowd was enjoying the performances. But also, they were catching part of the performances on the stage. I was very close to it, but during ‘The Last Night Of The World’ I couldn’t see anything because of it. It was just there, standing, filming. That was wrong, this camera should have been moving all the time so everybody can see. It’s a live event, is not televised, so the cameras shouldn’t be a priority.
Then was the turn of ‘The Phantom Of The Opera’, a musical that is playing every night at Her Majesty’s Theatre. I was lucky to catch them doing the sound rehearsals on Friday, but I enjoyed the two songs on Saturday too. They sung ‘The Music Of The Night’ and ‘Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again’. I loved the effects; on the screen there were pictures of the Phantom’s cave and the cemetery. I think that everybody loves this show, so their performance was great and very enjoyable. They never disappoint.
After that, ‘Les Misérables’ came to stage. This show is celebrating their 30’s anniversary at the Queen’s Theatre. It was the best performance of the day by far, because the crowd was so passionate and there was like a great connection with all the cast and the public. When they announced that ‘Les Misérables’ was about to perform, lot of people were shouting ‘Carrie!!!!’. Carrie Hope Fletcher is a famous youtuber who plays Eponine on the show and she also has published a book, so look for her because she is a very young and talented girl that is becoming very popular in the UK. The performance started with ‘I Dreamed A Dream’. It was the best way to present Rachelle Ann Goo as Fantine, who just joined the company the same week. I love her, she is great, I fell in love with her after discovering her in ‘Miss Saigon’ as Gigi. Then ‘Bring Him Home’ by Peter Lockyer and finally all the cast performed ‘One Day More’. The entire crowd was singing and shouting the lyrics with them. I have goosebumps if I think about it, it was one of the most beautiful connections and experience in theatre I’ve ever been.
The musical ‘Beautiful’ performed after that. It’s a show that you can see at the Aldwych Theatre. I’m always looking for tickets but I think that they are very expensive so I can’t afford it, but I really want to see it someday soon. I enjoyed very much the medley they prepared. First a group of girls sung ‘Will You Love Me Tomorrow’ and then the boys ‘On Broadway’. The ending was ‘Beautiful’; a song that I love, I think is very positive and catchy, and ‘I Feel The Earth Move’ with the entire cast. I must recognise that most of the songs are familiar to me, but I don’t know Carole King at all and her story. That’s why I’m really looking forward to see the show!
‘Mamma Mia’ is a show with songs by ABBA that you can see at the Novello Theatre. They prepared a medley with some of the most popular songs from the show like ‘Mamma Mia’, ‘Dancing Queen’ and ‘Waterloo’. I was very impressed with the choreographies, everybody was dancing like crazy, doing lots of moves. I love the movie so much, but I don’t think I’ll pay to watch it on stage. Basically because I watched it already in Spain, with the Spanish Cast, and because in my personal opinion, I prefer another kind of musical, that moves me more than this one, that makes me think and feel emotions with original songs. But ‘Mamma Mia‘ it’s great anyway, it’s a fun night, and I completely understand and respect the huge amount of people who love it.
The ‘Jersey Boys’ is a show about the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons at the Piccadilly Theatre. As you must know, it’s a show that I didn’t like too much, but the performance in West End LIVE 2015 was fantastic. Like last year, they perform some of the best hits of the show like ‘Walk Like A Man’, ‘Big Girls Don’t Cry’, ‘Sherry’, ‘Oh What A Night’ or ‘My Boyfriend Is Back’. Definitely, they choose the best songs, the most popular ones so you can dance and have fun, but then the show is disappointing. Anyway, I was singing with them.
Once the most important shows in West End finished their performance, it came like a kind of medley of productions on tour, schools and upcoming shows in London. ‘Shrek, the musical’, a musical that will be at the New Wimbledon Theatre at the end of this year, had a technical issue and the music stopped without any explanation. They kept singing and the public was singing with them like nothing happened. It was magic to see. Also, they made a small presentation of ‘War Horse’ a show that you can see at the New London Theatre. We could see how the horses are made, it was surprising to see how the actors make the horse move and everybody has a different function to do.
I decided to move from the crowd, because I was tired of being standing all the time, so I took a sit next to the fountain and watch the performances from the screen. There are a few new shows coming to London soon and they performed a few songs. On the first hand, I loved ‘Seven Brides For Seven Brothers’ at the Open Air Theatre. As you may know, I have my ticket already for this month. I was impressed and happy to hear some of the popular songs performed there. I can’t wait to see it. Also I loved the ‘American Idiot’ performance. The show by Green Day is coming to London this month at the Arts Theatre, and I’ve got my ticket ready too. They were singing ‘Do You Know Your Enemy’, ’21 Guns’ and ‘Boulevard Of Broken Dreams’.
I was very impressed with some new shows like ‘Elf, the musical’, that will open this Christmas at the Dominion Theatre, ‘The Three Little Pigs’ will be this summer at the Palace Theatre and ‘The Dreamers’ will be at the Saint James Theatre. All of them were great, with amazing voices and good songs. I would like to see ‘Elf’ and ‘The Dreamers’, but I’m not sure I can afford so many shows. I definitely would like to, I think it’s worth it. West End LIVE is a great event because you can discover new shows that maybe you wouldn’t know.
The last show I watched performing was ‘Gypsy’. It was a shame because it started to rain a lot, so I couldn’t see anything because of the umbrellas. Thanks God on Sunday it was very sunny and hot. And also, I didn’t mind because I’ve already seen the show at the Savoy Theatre. Soon you’ll have a review, I promise. I need to write a lot of posts for you! The last performance was ‘Let It Be’, a musical about The Beatles but I didn’t wait for it, because I’m not a fan of the band.
So that was pretty much my Saturday at West End LIVE 2015. I think that they did a great job. The organisation was perfect, I could enjoy some of the best performances of the best shows in London, the most important, and also it’s great to have a look at the new shows in town. I understand that they used a camera crane, but I think that it’s not useful in an event like this; I don’t think it’s necessary. Also, is great to have a look at the schools in the city. They were amazing; you can’t believe how talented are those kids. They will be the stars of London in the future. But I also think that West End LIVE is the celebration of the year of musicals in UK, so maybe other productions on tour, or shows that finished their running should be there, like ‘Made In Dagenham’ or ‘Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown’. But still, it was the best weekend of the year, by far, one of the best experiences that I won’t forget.