Thursday, February 29

West End In Blackpool – Winter Gardens

That entertainment mecca of the Lancashire coast, the Winter Gardens, Blackpool celebrates its star studded heritage with the sparkling streaming event: West End In Blackpool.

Described by its director and choreographer, Ashley Luke Lloyd as a “docu-concert stageavaganza”, this combines performances from West End artists with commentary detailing the history of the iconic building. It features Blackpool born Jodie Prenger (Oliver!) with former on screen Emmerdale siblings, Tom Lister and Kelsey-Beth Crossley. Others appearing include Top Hat co-stars, Charlotte Gooch and Alan Burkitt along with Luke Lloyd himself.

Prenger breathes new life into Sondheim’s evergreen Send In The Clowns whilst Lister pays admirable homage to Frank Sinatra (who appeared at the venue) with All Of Me. Crossley’s moving rendition of Where Do I Begin? is a fitting tribute to another of the greats who trod the boards at the site- Shirley Bassey. Gooch and Burkitt pay their respects to the Gardens’ association with dance in their deft take on Cheek To Cheek. Laura Wilson memorably sings The Winner Takes It All from Mamma Mia, the landmark’s biggest box office success. Luke Lloyd with dancers deliver a lively version of There’s No Business Like Showbusiness and Brooke Havana Bailey brings things to a rousing close with Queen’s The Show Must Go On.

Luke Lloyd presents an entertaining taste of live entertainment soon to return. This is coupled with interesting facts, enthusiastically delivered by the performers, about a complex which has entertained millions since its opening in 1878. Its slender running time leaves its audience wanting more.

This is ultimately a spirited and enjoyable love letter to a cherished seaside institution.

West End In Blackpool is streaming via the Winter Gardens website until 9th July.

Reviewer: Chris Hughes

Reviewed: 9th April 2021

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★