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THE WEST END MEN IN CONCERT – Vaudeville Theatre, London.

The West End Men in Concert at the Vaudeville Theatre showcases the talent of four well-known musical theatre personalities. They perform a variety of songs from the shows they are famous for, as well as other musical theatre anthems and some pop favourites.

Matt Willis, best know by the wider public as a member of the band Busted, more than held his own against his arguably more accomplished companions. In the opening medley he sings ‘Music of the Night’, proving that his career change from the pop world to theatre is justified. He doesn’t disappoint his fans who know him from his previous exploits, his performance of ‘Year 3000’ is well received, his stage presence, charisma and enthusiasm shine through. Only he could make ‘Edelweiss’ sound cool! 

David Thaxton, Olivier Award winning no less, is a commanding presence on the stage. He has a very strong tenor voice and his rendition of ‘Til I Hear You Sing’ from Love Never Dies is powerful and full of emotion. I have seen him perform a few times in the past and he impresses me more and more each time. Glenn Carter is the comparative veteran of the pack. Recently seen in the West End as Tommy De Vito in Jersey Boys, his most famous role came in the title role of Jesus Christ Superstar. Hearing him sing ‘Gethsemane’ after all these years was a privilege. He can still hit that note! Another highlight comes in the Act 2 medley of songs, originally sung by female vocalists, Glenn sings ‘The Music and The Mirror’ from A Chorus Line, complete with dance moves. This sense of fun is a thread that runs throughout the entire show. The performers enjoy themselves and the audience can’t help but join them. 

Lee Mead is perhaps the weak link in the group, but I know from seeing him previously he has a strong voice. He seemed under the weather and shouldn’t be judged as a performer based on this night, as we all have these days. Having said that, his performance of ‘Fix You’ by Coldplay shows his voice off perfectly. Of course, the night wouldn’t have been the same without ‘Close Every Door’ from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, the show which made him a household name, and he duly obliges.

The four guys singing together on stage are a joy to watch. They have good rapport and mutual respect for each other, the banter between them is good-natured…if a little forced. Vocally, I cannot fault their group numbers, the highlight being the beautiful rendition of ‘Kiss From a Rose’, their tight harmonies doing justice to one of my favourite songs.

Making a guest appearance is Kerry Ellis. She performs a couple of solo numbers, including ‘Defying Gravity’, arguably the song she is most well known for, as well as a duet with Lee. 

The whole evening wonderfully arranged by Mitch Sebastian and David White. Although there is nothing groundbreaking about this concert, there are some inventive arrangements and each song flows into the next smoothly. The performers’ love for their craft is clear. The show is exactly what you would expect, a simple but entertaining evening of great songs sung by great people.

Glenn Carter performs until 8th June to be replaced by Stephen Rahman-Hughes. Kerry Ellis performs until 15th June to be replaced by Carley Stenson.

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Reviewed 3/6/13

By Catherine Duffy
@cat_duffy

25th May – 22nd June 2013
Vaudeville Theatre, The Strand, W1.

 

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