Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Review: West End Heroes at the Dominion Theatre

West End Heroes 
Dominion Theatre
Reviewed on Sunday 28th September 2014

Following the success of last year's show, West End Heroes returned to the (newly refurbished) Dominion Theatre. The sell-out performance saw West End performers sharing the stage with military musicians who were accompanied by the West End Heroes choir which is made up of people who usually work on the other side of the curtain - technicians, front of house crews, stage managers and so on.

West End Heroes is the most inspiring theatrical event in the theatrical calendar. The tone of the evening is perfect, everyone has a great time and the warmth and support from the adoring audience is unlike anything I have ever experienced before. 

The stunning orchestra couldn't have sounded more divine, with the audience being treated to a wide variety of musical performances. Several West End casts took to the stage including the new West End company of Evita who, led by the feisty Michelle Pentecost, gave a lively performance of 'Buenos Aires'. Wendi Peters gave a playful taste of what we can expect from White Christmas and during the second half the cast of Miss Saigon blew everyone away with a riveting rendition of 'Bui Doi' – Hugh Maynard gave his absolute all.

Louise Dearman graced the Dominion Theatre stage, showcasing her effortless vocals during a number from Ragtime. Britain's Got Talent winners Collabro proved popular with the audience when they performed their signature song, 'Bring Him Home'. It was great to see the musical theatre boyband on a West End stage; although I was disappointed they used a backing track instead of performing with the glorious military orchestra.

Matt Flint specially choreographed 'Step in Time' from Mary Poppins which saw Freddie Huddleston stride around the perimeter of the Dominion Theatre - up the side of the stage, along the top (whilst singing upside down) and back down the other side. The dancers gave their all, providing one of the evening's stand out moments.

I remember Flight Lieutenant Matthew Little stealing last year's show and this year he certainly didn't disappoint, taking to the stage several times to perform numbers from Beauty and the Beast, Annie Get Your Gun and White Christmas. Musical theatre's new favourite duo - Daniel Boys and Lauren Samuels - gave a touching rendition of 'Home'. Their chemistry is warm whilst their voices complement each other perfectly. 

The most impressive performance of the evening came from Les Mis star Carrie Hope Fletcher who belted the most incredible performance of 'On My Own'. I have heard that song performed time and time again, but the West End Heroes orchestra accompanying Carrie created the most dazzling version I have ever heard; her vocals were sublime.

The evening was hosted by our very own King of the West End - Mr Michael Ball. I've always known Michael is a top singer, actor and television/radio presenter... but had no idea he was also secretly a stand-up comedian! Michael made the perfect host; he can be serious and inspiring as well as funny and light-hearted. I've never seen him perform in a concert environment before and was absolutely blown away by his tremendous vocals.

His renditions of 'Anthem' and 'Empty Chairs at Empty Tables' were astounding while his final number, 'Love Changes Everything' from Aspects of Love, brought the entire audience to their feet.

The show may have been a little unrehearsed and occasionally frantic (Michael Ball being hit by a curtain left the audience in uncontrollable hysterics), but once again West End Heroes provided an unmissable evening showcasing such superb talent. I am already looking forward to next year...

Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)

Photo Credit:  Claire Bilyard

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