Over the past weekend (June 23-24th) London’s Trafalgar Square was engulfed by around 15,000 musical theatre enthusiasts in celebration of the extraordinary talent and vivacity of our West End. Across the two days 39 shows (every single musical running at this present time) plus recording artists, choirs, and a few theatre youngsters put on a FREE display showcasing some of their spectacular music and performers, demonstrating just how lucky we are in this country to be home to some of the best theatre the world has to offer. West End Live has been running since 2005 and started out in Leicester Square, but it became so huge that it outgrew its origins and was relocated to Trafalgar Square. I have regrettably never been before and this weekend was resounding proof that I had been missing out!
Surrounded by exhibition tents promoting other top London attractions,
the big stage treated us to exhilarating performances from musicals such as Les
Miserables, Matilda, Thriller Live, Billy Elliot, The Lion King, We Will Rock
You, Wicked, and so many more. Crowd favourites seemed to be the Jersey Boys
and Rock of Ages, both of which had everyone dancing, cheering, and singing
along to the timeless songs that have been going strong for decades. Sunday’s
timetable of delights also included a few solo artists such as Louise Dearman
and Alex Gaumond who have recently released new albums following their thus far
successful West End careers.
If you so wished you could’ve temporarily escaped the crowd and walked
around the exhibitions which included Angelina Ballerina dance classes, the War
Horse puppeteers who brought Joey the horse along with them so you could see
for yourself the intricacies of their work and the puppets used in the show,
TKTS who were selling musical theatre tickets should what you had seen that day
inspired you to see an entire show, and Anthony Daniels (voice of C3PO in all
six Star Wars films) even made an appearance with C3PO and R2D2 for meet and
greet and photo opportunities.
The inclination to refer to West End Live as the perfect music festival
is notably overbearing, however the technical side could have done with some
fine tuning and there were a few too many advertisements appearing on the big
screens when the majority of us were more interested in the next show about to
come on stage. Nevertheless, I would recommend this event to everyone, from
those who are the least bit curious about theatre to those who cannot get
enough. I can guarantee you will have a fantastic time regardless of whatever
the British weather brings your way; we had both sunshine and some rain this weekend,
but it did not seem like anyone’s mood was dampened. I for one am already
excited for West End Live 2013- hope to see you there!
One more thing- here's the video footage I took of the weekend. It's by no means all the performances, but it's the ones I could get a good view of http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfczn_zs7T0&feature=plcp