Sunday, 21 June 2015

West End Live 2015, Saturday 20 June



West End Live is without a doubt the most anticipated weekend of the year for stagey people, showcasing some of the best of the best the West End has on offer spread out over two musical-filled days in London's Trafalgar Square. Completely for free!

While I have previously only reported about it in 2013, this year actually marked my 7th visit to the annual theatrical event (which is now in its 11th year) and the first where I had press accreditation so the quality of my pictures is (hopefully) a lot better. That way people reading this who were not able to attend might still feel like they were there – and those who did go can relive some of their favourite moments.

My highlights (as ever) were the extraordinarily catchy Jersey Boys, the totally epic Miss Saigon (which I'm visiting for review again next week) and Les Miserables, and the AMAZING Memphis with one of the last performances by Killian Donnelly before he heads off to join the fabulous Kinky Boots (opening at the Palace Theatre in August).

The whole day was once more organised fantastically by Westminster Council, MasterCard and The Society of London Theatre, the only hiccup being the heavens opening up late afternoon but that is something they have no control over and also, it wouldn't be West End Live without getting drenched!

Without further ado, click below for some of my photos of the first day of West End Live 2015. I tried to share some shots from each of my favourite performances as I wanted to keep it fair (although, admittedly, I have a LOT more photos from some shows *cough* Memphis *cough* than others) and I will do the same from the Sunday performances, which I'll be heading to later this afternoon.


The day opened with a jazzy performance by The Commitments


The talented young cast of Billy Elliot is always a crowd pleaser


A sweet performance of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with Augustus Gloop


Sunny Afternoon (aka the musical that won all the Olivier Awards this year!) went down a treat with the audience as many sang along to the hits from The Kinks


Beverly Knight gave a stunning performance from Memphis the Musical


And she was joined by co-star Killian Donnelly


He was SO good, you guys!






Joey from War Horse also made an appearance, I'm completely blown away by the three actors who made him come alive on stage!


Eva Noblezada gave a heart-rendering performance from Miss Saigon with her new co-star Chris Peluso (and Miss Saigon's Jon Jon Briones, aka the Engineer, was watching it with us from the press area!)




An atmospheric performance from The Phantom of the Opera followed


And to complete the trio of Cameron Mackintosh's epic classics was Les Misérables!


Can you spot the amazing Carrie Hope Fletcher as Eponine?


Also, holy-hot Enroljas!




Loved seeing Dylan Turner (right) back on stage in Beautiful, after admiring him in Rock of Ages and Tailor-Made Man in recent years




Always a firm favourite among the audience (and my favourites at West End Live each year) is the amazing (and long!) set by Jersey Boys




I love that Alex Gaumond will be back on stage in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre next month! He was brilliant when I saw him in We Will Rock You, Top Hat and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and the sneak peek we heard of Seven Brides sounds fab too



X-Factor's Amelia Lily performs 21 Guns from American Idiot, which is opening at the Arts Theatre next month! American Idiot by Green Day is one of my all-time favourite albums and the musical is one of my favourite stage albums so while I wasn't a huge fan of the recent production in Hammersmith, I'm looking forward to checking this one out


The always impressive kids of the Sylvia Young Theatre School performed a fun medley of West End shows


Finally, we had a little bit of festive fun with Elf the Musical, which is opening at the Dominion Theatre later this year. I've been following lead Ben Forster since the Superstar TV-show and the Jesus Christ Superstar tour that followed and I look forward to seeing him back on stage!


In all it was an absolutely fabulous day and I can't wait to get finished with writing my reviews so I can head back into the West End for another day of theatrical fun. If you went to West End Live as well (whether this year or a previous time) do share your own highlights in the comments below as I'd love to hear your stories and see your pictures and videos!


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