Last night we went to see The West End Men at the Vaudeville Theatre which promised a night of musical and modern singing from a quartet that includes giants of the UK stage; Lee Mead, Matt Willis, David Thaxton and Glenn Carter.
This evening bills itself as
The West End Men is a brand new show starring a charismatic company of critically acclaimed Leading Men from the West End’s greatest musicals. The Men are quite simply as good as they get. Some of the most fiercely talented performers of their generation, they have played leads across the planet. This slick and stylish production features them performing a selection of signature numbers from their most famous roles, together with some of the best known show tunes in the world.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect; would it be like ‘An audience with’ format or a fast paced chorus of male voices, and more importantly, would it work? It was neither and it did.
The collection of songs include a few contemporary pop tunes and old classics as well as some great musical numbers which means the pace and style changes a lot to hold your interest. All the men have very different voices and great on stage chemistry. The evening was laid back to the point of informal at times and the evening went by really quickly which is great because I do find some musicals a bit long.
Matt Willis, formerly of Busted, was the biggest surprise. Quite the crowd pleaser, he sang his chart topping ‘Year 3000′ which gave the night a more high energy feel; my daughter was rapt as she loved this song when it came out. His mixture of pop star status and male lead in Wicked gave him the perfect credentials for the show and the audience loved him.
Other highlights were; Lee Mead’s cover version of Coldplay’s song Fix You and the ensemble sang Midnight from Cats which span me right back to the 80s. I don’t think I’ve ever heard the song sung by all male voices but it worked well.
Kerry Ellis joins the stage during second half of the show; dressed in a dazzling outfit, she really enjoyed herself and her voice worked brilliantly in the small space. There was also a choir, used to great effect for the rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody at the end, this song in particular felt like more than a small nod towards the style and grandeur of the Olympic Opening ceremony and I know I’ll have that song on the brain all week! I would have loved another song or two with them too, while the audience gave a standing ovation, there was no encore.
What to expect from the show
There is no storyline or plot to The West End Men, it has the feel of an intimate gig rather than a performance because the guys muck around quite a lot on stage. The band, rather than being hidden away under the stage, is actually in full glare of the spotlight and playing throughout the performance, which gives the theatre more of a night club feel.
This is the antithesis of a Vegas show, the diminutive theatre is adorned, or rather unadorned, with a pared down stage, some raised steps, the five piece band and of course the singers who are dressed at in suits, then jeans and then formal attire when they sing in the second half. It only has a short run in the West End, a matter of weeks and I think it’s well worth venturing into town for.
Simple format, great entertainment, job done.
Glenn Carter (Until 8 June 2013)
Stephen Rahman-Hughes (From 10 – 22 June 2013)
With Special Guest Kerry Ellis (Until 15 June 2013)
Director: Mitch Sebastian
Musical Supervisor: David White
Musical Director: Will Stuart
Designer: Kate Unwin
Sound: Andy Johnson
The run ends on June 22, 2013.
By phone 0844 482 9675 (24HRS)
In person at the Box Office:
404 Strand, City of London, WC2R 0NH
Stalls: £47.50, £35, Premiums £65
Dress Circle: £47.50, £25 (RV)
Grand Circle: £25, £20
Boxes: £47.50 (SV)
RV – Restricted View
SV – Side View
Thanks to Booments for inviting us.