#Tweetingit – Sequins, costume reveals, skirt removals, questionable sexual content, bearded ladies, rollerskates, leather, 8 of the best shows in the west end, not a nul points, duff note or tech fault in sight AND LULU! An amazing evening for an incredible cause
What a night. I could not imagine a better treat than seeing 8 of the best West End casts performing on the same stage in the same night. Not only that but we had this year’s
Eurovision entry, Surie, last year’s Eurovision entry, Lucie Jones, (“Fucking”) Lulu, an appearance from Leslie Joseph, Cheryl Baker, and Graham Norton, a fantastic host in Richard Gauntlett, and an amazing judging panel of Alene Phillips, John Partridge and Tom Allen. And finally, to top it all off, it was for the amazing cause which is TheatreMAD – supporting those with HIV and AIDs.
For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of experience one of the previous West End Eurovisions, 8 current West End shows compete against one another performing songs from Eurovision history. The judging categories include the ident video (posted online and voted for prior to the evening), the judges’ creative award, and the overall winners. The voting for the overall winners is done by a panel of judges from each show, along with texts from the audience.
The performance that got the biggest cheer was certainly Dreamgirls’ updated version of “Making Your Mind Up.
Complete with Dreamgirls style glitzy sparkly dresses and some extremely impressive harmonies, this old-fashioned song sounded like it had been written for the Supremes rather than Bucks Fizz.
And my favourite had to be the truly Eurovision “Take me to your Heaven” by Young Frankenstein which featured massive angel wings and literal dance moves matched to the words
Denmark’s 2007 Drama Queen performed by Aladdin was also brilliant. I mainly loved the fact that the family show decided this may be their only opportunity to dress their extremely attractive male dancers in leather straps and belts….
The judges were also brilliant – the highlight being from comedian, Tom Allen, who admitted to having “Fuck all theatre experience” and so expressed his enjoyment of the
“step and walk forward”, or “twizzle and stop” and made my night by excitedly expressing “Its fucking Lulu” after the surprise appearance during 42nd Street’s samba version of her “Boom Bang a Bang”
The time and effort which has gone into these performances by all of those on and off stage need to be applauded. Not only do the concepts of the productions need to be created, but then they need choreographed, learnt and rehearsed, as well as costumes, hair and makeup and designed (and boy were the costumes amazing) – all while doing 8 shows a week!
Now – as a silly aside (because until now, Eurovision has always been serious) – we all know how political Eurovision is; it is all about who you live near, what the current economic situation is and who gave who what votes last year. So I decided to do a little experiment, to see if any of that made a difference in the voting last night.
Here are where the shows currently reside:
The Prince Edward – Aladdin
Theatre Royal Drury Lane – 42nd Street
The Novello – Mamma Mia
The Savoy Theatre – Dreamgirls
The Adelphi – Kinky Boots
The Garrick – Young Frankenstein
Her Majesty’s Theatre – Phantom
Victoria Palace – Hamilton
Now, Google tells me that just 2.8 miles and a 59 minute walk separates all of them, but did it make a difference in the voting?
The only show which did not give 12 points to Phantom was 42nd Street – could this be because the show to whom they did give 12 points, Dreamgirls, is a short hop from them at The Savoy. Giving the neighbours a high score….suspicious…
Meanwhile, the new kids on the block – Hamilton, sadly came in last – could this be because they reside so far away from their competitors and have no political link? Who can say…
The winning entry was Phantom of the Opera Performing Conchita Wurst’s 2014 winning song ‘Rise Like a Phoenix’, and earing top marks of 106 – 36 ahead of their nearest rivals, Dreamgirls. As I mentioned above, they only missed 12s across the board by one vote – when they received 10 from 42nd Street.
Featuring a cast of bearded characters including Conchita, Elphaba, Princess Jasmine and The Bearded Lady from The Greatest Showman, and a fabulous quick change dress transformation, they were all truly fantastic.
I do not know whether Phantom decided to perform this extremely apt song month’s ago or whether they changed it in light of recent stories of Conchita being shamed for her HIV status. As Graham Norton quite rightly put it, “Fuck you, there is no shame!” It was either extremely serendipitous or they are even more impressive for being able to put something together so quickly.
The third trophy of the night, the Best Ident, voted for by public text vote, was won by Hamilton. The final result was:
- The Phantom of the Opera – 106 votes
- Dreamgirls – 70 votes
- Aladdin – 60 votes
- Young Frankenstein – 50 votes
- 42nd Street – 42 votes ( silly shouts of “fix” from the audience )
- Kinky Boots – 38 votes
- Mamma Mia – 32 votes
- Hamilton – 24 votes
And ultimately, it doesn’t matter who won or lost. It was an amazing evening with a stage filled with the best talent you’ll find almost anywhere raising money for an extremely worthy cause.
And now for a little on that cause, TheatreMAD, for which the entire event was supporting. The Make a Difference Trust raises funds for HIV and AIDS projects that bhild awareness and provide care, support and education to people in the UK and sub-saharan Afraica. There were 300,000 fewer new cases of HIV in 2016 than 2015 and that stat continues to improve everyday. But there are still 36.7million people worldwide living with HIV and 2.1 million of them are children. TheatreMAD have also set up a peer to peer support programme for members of the theatre industry who have recently been affected by or who are living with HiV. With continued donations and support, the MAD Trust can continue to help those in need and provide education, awareness and support.
To donate to MAD – go to https://www.madtrust.org.uk/
And for further information and tickets for all of the shows who performed last night, judges, special guests and the fantastic host that was Richard Gauntlett, please see their Twitter pages:
@arlenephillips @mustbejp @tomallencomedy @DickyGauntlett @HamiltonWestEnd @youngfrankldn @KinkyBootsUK @PhantomOpera @42ndStreetLDN @DreamgirlsLDN @AladdinLondon @MammaMiaMusical @grahnort @lulushouts @lucyjones @surieofficial @mustbejp