Wednesday, July 6

West End Unplugged: Vol 2 – The Shows Must Go On

This is the second concert like this on the Show Must Go On YouTube channel. It features West End stars singing with a small group of musicians on acoustic instruments. This is mixed with socially distanced sofa chats between West End choreographer Anthony Van Laast, the stars and other theatre workers. There are 2 mini concerts with different acts put together to make a 90-minute session.

These shows are billed as the West End’s biggest stars, which could be debated as some of the acts last appeared there at least 7 years ago. The songs are also not ones which would instantly jump to mind as popular favourites. This week’s acts are Hannah Waddingham, David Bedella, Joe Stilgoe, Richard Fleeshman, Celinde Schonemaker, Katie Brayben and Cavin Cornwall.

With everything stripped back, no costumes, sets, lights and dancing, it gives a chance for the performers voices to shine. Bedella sings Sweet Transvestite, you can’t help but think that a 3-piece suit is not the right attire for that. Both of Waddingham’s songs (At Last and Do I Love you) are well suited to this kind of minimalistic set up. Joe Stilgoe brings a smile with his modern references in The Kings New Clothes. The second session opens with the velvet voice of Cavin Cornwall and continues with a moving rendition of Both Sides Now by Katie Brayben.

The Show Must Go On channel has been delivering a dose of theatre in various forms since April, mostly screenings of full musicals. Apart from entertainment the channel has been raising funds for various theatre charities to support people through this time. This is more in evidence in these concerts than before with appeals for donations throughout the show. These recent offerings are a great chance for those involved to get back in some way to doing what they love.

West End Unplugged: Vol 2 is an easy-going concert with some quality performances, however it doesn’t seem to get going and give you the musicals fix that many people crave.

Available on Youtube until 7pm on Sunday 22nd November 2020.

Reviewer: Annette Nuttall

Reviewed: 20th November 2020

North West End UK Rating: ★★★