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‘A much-needed dose of musical theatre’: WEST END MUSICAL DRIVE-IN (Online review) ★★★★

While there may be a light at the end of the tunnel with the announcement that theatres can reopen to a socially distanced audience from 17 May, until then we’ll be relying on digital productions for our theatre fix. Thankfully the founders of West End Musical Brunch have got us covered by streaming last year’s West End Musical Drive-In concerts, providing us with a much-needed dose of musical theatre.

The fourth concert in the series sees former cast members of Aladdin reunite to celebrate the second birthday of West End Musical Brunch, and features Hiba Elchikhe, Trevor Dion Nicholas and Matt Croke along with host Shanay Holmes performing some well-known songs from hit musicals.

Disney fans are rewarded with performances of songs from the West End show Aladdin. Elchikhe performs ‘These Palace Walls’ and Croke gives a great rendition of ‘Proud of Your Boy’ before the pair unite to sing the song’s most famous song ‘A Whole New World’. Matt Croke teams up with Nicholas to give a charismatic performance of ‘Somebody’s Got Your Back’, the duo injecting some humour into the concert. Nicholas returns to his role of Genie to perform the iconic ‘Friend Like Me’.

Holmes is once again an enthusiastic host, opening the show confidently with ‘When You’re Good to Mama’ from Chicago and raising the tempo with ‘I’m Every Woman’ from The Bodyguard and ‘You Can’t Stop The Beat’ from Hairspray.

Elchikhe gives a stunning performance of ‘Burn’ from Hamilton, one of the highlights of the concert; and her duet with Croke of Wicked’s ‘As Long As You’re Mine’ is equally beautiful. Croke, who most recent appeared on The Voice, proves why he’s a deserving West End lead with his rendition of ‘Come What May’ from Moulin Rouge! and Dear Evan Hansen’s ‘Waving Through A Window’.

These concerts were never intended to be streamed to a wider audience, therefore the times where the camera focuses on the audience and misses some of the action on stage should be forgiven. And of course it’s always great to see audience members clearly having a ball and dancing along (while following social distancing guidelines of course), particularly during the ‘Time Warp’ singalong. Nicholas threatens to steal the show with his incredible voice as he performs ‘Be Prepared’ from The Lion King whilst noting that Scar is his dream role; and ‘Ease On Down The Road’ from The Wiz. He also delights the audience by reuniting with Hamilton co-star Karl Queensborough for a performance of ‘One Last Time’.

With songs from musicals including Dear Evan Hansen, Grease, Hamilton and Ragtime, West End Musical Drive-In is a great introduction to musical theatre and the perfect way to see some of your favourite stars of the stage perform during lockdown. This is another strong and entertaining show with a brilliant setlist and some standout performances, and is guaranteed to brighten your day.


Rating: 4 out of 5.

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from News, Reviews and Features – My Theatre Mates

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