STARS OF THE WEST END – Cadogan Hall, London.
If you are looking for a night of high octane, camp, cheesy musical extravaganza then Stars of the West End is the show for you. Flanked by wonderful musicians from the West End Sinfonia and with musical director Toby Cruse, the stars Mike Sterling, Shona Lindsay, Tom Solomon and Jayne O’Mahony rattle through a programme of songs from a wide variety of musicals.
The best performances were of the songs that come from productions these stars had previously performed in, as it gave the added gravitas needed to fill the void between the full musical and this medley show. The joy of a musical is the full package – the stage, set, costumes, songs and thus the overall atmosphere of a musical is conjured. Stars of the West End has no set, dubious lighting, some lovely (some not so much) costumes/outfits and therefore the songs, although sung with great aplomb lose some of the musical razzamatazz, which showed sadly.
The lighting designer went to town with the amount of colours and movable lights available – rapidly changing the colours which at points was quite distracting. However, the format of the show ran seamlessly between the different performers singing solos, duets, trios and also quartets – the latter to open and close the show. The second half was undoubtedly more enjoyable that the first, as it featured more songs from shows the performers had starred in and thus had a bit more of a fully rounded performance, opposed to the showy feel of the first act. All of the songs performed from The Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables went down extremely well with the audience – causing a standing ovation and an encore.
For me the star of the show was Mike Sterling, closely followed by Jayne O’Mahony. Sterling’s performance of Phantom songs (yes he did wear the mask!) was outstanding and his voice resonated around the magnificent Cadogan Hall. O’Mahony sung solos from Evita, which she starred in, andCats – and really set the tone well in the quartet medley of songs from West Side Story.
The musicians from the West End Sinfonia, led my Cruse really went a long way to conjuring the musical atmosphere of each song and throughout the whole show – particularly during the instrumental section of ‘Memories’ from Cats. These musicians were a delight – and it would have been an added bonus for this set to include a full instrumental rendition of one or two well know numbers.
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By Emily Jones
Sat 25th Oct
Cadogan Hall, London, SW1.