Friday 27 April 2018


West End Eurovision at the Shaftesbury Theatre

Musical theatre and the Eurovision Song Contest are generally associated with catchy tunes, outlandish choreography and dazzling performances. So what do you get if you combine the two? The stagiest and most flamboyant event of the year, that's what! West End Eurovision – in which the casts of some of the top London theatre shows compete for the number one spot in a skimpy-clothed contest performing past Eurovision highlights – returned to the Shaftesbury Theatre with a bedazzled bang.

Produced by The Make a Difference Trust's TheatreMAD, the camp charity event last graced the London stage in 2014. I was somewhat aware of it at the time, but didn't find out details until after the evening had already taken place, alas, and it's been sorely missed from the West End since. Needless to say I was thrilled when a return was announced a few months ago – finally I could enjoy the stagiest event of the year for myself, and what an electrifying experience it was.

The biggest shows of the West End were competing for the top spot and they went all out in their entries with fabulous costumes, tight choreography and insane vocals. They'd clearly put a lot of thought and effort into every single detail, and it really showed. Even though it was an one-night only charity event, the performances were unanimously flawless. Each time I thought I'd seen the best performance of the night, the next one would come along and managed to smash through my expectations once more.

This year the performers were:
  • Hamilton – Cliché Love Song (Denmark, 2014)
  • Young Frankenstein – Take Me To Your Heaven (Sweden, 1999)
  • 42nd Street – Boom Bang a Bang (United Kingdom, 1969)
  • Kinky Boots – Warrior (Georgia, 2015)
  • The Phantom of the Opera – Rise Like a Phoenix (Austria, 2014)
  • Dreamgirls – Making Your Mind Up (UK, 1981)
  • Mama Mia! – Undo (Sweden, 2014) 
  • Aladdin – Drama Queen (Denmark, 2007)

There was a clear preference for the Scandinavian countries and past tunes from the UK itself, an indicator that these nations in particular produce a healthy amount of earworms. I was drawn more to catchy songs than the overall staging of the performances, with Cliché Love Song and Undo still lingering in my head several days after the show and among my absolute favourites for the night.

Though Lulu's guest appearance as part of the 42nd Street entry, and the most excellent costumes and vocals of Rise Like a Phoenix were memorable moments too. The latter was the clear audience and judges favourite from the moment they entered the stage, with guest host Graham Norton also pointing out the on-point timing as original performer Conchita Wurst announced her own HIV positive status the same week as West End Eurovision raised money for the same cause.

In true Eurovision style, the audience got to text in their votes while the judges were deciding on their favourites, and points were awarded from 2 to 12 by two representatives from each show. After about two rounds of points it was obvious that the Phantom of the Opera would take the much-coveted trophy home, as they received 12 points from all bar one of their theatrical competitors My favourite, Hamilton, sadly made the bottom of the score board, but the 'immigrants who get the job done' did take award the award for Best Ident, so their efforts weren't in vain!

With guest performances by the 2017 and 2018 UK Eurovision entries, Lucie Jones and SuRie, as well as an appearance by Graham Norton, the evening wasn't just buzzing with theatre fans but with Eurovision ones too. And with fabulously flamboyant performances by some of the West End's crème de la crème, and tons of theatrical in-jokes by host Richard Gauntlet and his trio of judges (Tom Allen, Arlene Phillips, John Patridge) the MADTrust team has brilliantly given a stagey twist to the much-loved European song content.

For more information on the Make a Difference Trust, upcoming stagey events and to donate to their worthy causes, check out their website.

© Photo credit: Darren Bell

 🎵 Listening to: Basim – Cliché Love Song


  1. Wow that sounds great. Please if you happen to remember next year, let me know when tickets go on sale for this, as definitely sounds like my sort of evening. Love musicals and Eurovision.

    1. Sure thing! I also recommend signing up to their newsletter as they do a bunch of fab stagey charity events throughout the year :)


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