Review: West End Live



The popular show celebrated its ninth year.

By Emma Birkett

Trafalgar Square’s hallowed stones once again played host to a bite size collection of jazz hands, breathtaking dancing and superb singing for the ninth year of West End Live.

The free annual two-day live event, which took place on June 22-23, saw the cast and crew from the majority of the West End musicals perform one to three of the songs from their respective show in 10-20 minute slots.

For many of those in the know, the event has now become an unmissable fixture in the summer calendar.

Regular theatregoer Max Sycamore, 28 from Croydon, said: “I remember when this event was a small word-of-mouth thing which took place in Leicester Square – now loads of people come here to enjoy the music and performances. This is my sixth West End Live but I will definitely be back for a seventh!”

This year’s event promised to be the biggest one yet, with an additional screen set-up in Leicester Square, the birth place of West End Live, for all those unable to get into the Square itself.

Queuing started early, and by 11:30am the square was full, despite the fact that doors only opened at 11:00am.

As well as a main stage, the area has a few stalls and sponsor enclosures, and a running list which featured both children’s musicals such as Peter Pan and Dora the Explorer as well as the more established musicals such as We Will Rock You and Phantom of the Opera.

All the shows were received with rapturous applause – but this year’s standout performances definitely came from the cast of Les Misérables, The Jersey Boys and Rock of Ages.

The cast of the latter, who were responsible for closing the first day of the event at 6:00pm, even led the crowd to a new world record for the number of people participating in synchronised air-guitar playing.

It is definitely a full day of fun and dancing, which unfortunately is also at the mercy of the great British weather. This year the rain more-or-less held off, but we did experience some light downpours in the middle of the event.

At one point in the day there were also some unfortunate sound technicalities, but aside from these relatively minor issues, if you are a fan of musicals or even just like good free events in town, West End Live is definitely worth checking out in 2014.

Photo courtesy of LindaH, with thanks.

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