This was number 3 in the series of West End Musical Drive-in shows which was recorded around September 2020 and brings live music from West End theatre stars to an outdoor setting whilst theatres are closed. These are now being streamed to view from the safety of people’s own homes. As with any outside broadcast, this was at the mercy of the weather which was not kind for much of this show and it was awkward for the performers having a microphone in one hand and an umbrella in the other. I know myself from first-hand experience how difficult it is to put on a show outdoors like this and the technical team involved deserve a huge amount of credit for their efforts in putting everything together. Thanks to them the quality of the sound was excellent.
The show was opened, introduced and compared throughout by Shanay Holmes, who kicked off proceedings with a superb rendition on the Shirley Bassey classic “Diamonds are forever” which she managed to put her own stamp on without trying to mimic the original. It would have been nice to hear more of her singing, but most of her time on stage was taken up with introducing the other individual singers and urging the audience to “Make some noise”, which to be honest became a bit irritating after a while. A lot of time was taken up with moving singers off and on the stage and re-introducing them, as they each only performed one song at a time.
The show was made up of many well-known and classic musical theatre numbers and leaned heavily towards songs from the musical “Wicked”, which was perhaps understandable given the background of the cast involved. Other shows were represented though, including “Grease”, “Rent”, “Prince of Egypt”, “Rock of Ages” and inevitably “Frozen”. All the performers did an excellent job with their chosen songs and it is difficult to pick out the “best” performances, but Laura Pick doing “Hopelessly devoted”, followed by a duet with guest singer Karl Mann; Emma Hatton singing “No good deed goes unpunished”, one of the many songs from “Wicked”; Alice Fearn’s duet with Emma on “There can be miracles” from “Prince of Egypt” are all worthy of mention.
For me though, the outstanding performer of the night was the welsh songstress Sophie Evans, who’s variety of material made her stand out from the rest. She sang “Don’t stop believing” from “Rock of Ages”, “Fame”, dueted with Alice on “For Good” from “Wicked” but her “Part of your World” from “The Little Mermaid” was the best I have heard since Sierra Boggess did the original.
The show ended with Emma Hatton singing “This is me” from “The Greatest Showman” but then we were treated to an encore when Shanay Holmes returned to the stage to sing “One night only” from “Dreamgirls” which was a fitting end to a superb overall performance by all the cast involved. Again I have to acknowledge the contribution of the technical team who are often overlooked in these type of shows but deserve huge credit for the work they did under particularly adverse conditions. Well done to all involved. https://www.westendmusicaldrivein.co.uk/
Reviewer: David S. Clarke
Reviewed: 5th March 2021
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★