Enticed by free West End calibre theatre, I went down to Trafalgar Square for a wonderfully sunny couple of hours on Sunday and it did not disappoint.
First up at 12pm was the cast of Stomp, who performed a couple of very rhythmic and infectious pieces. It was perfect for an event like this but I’m still not totally convinced by it as a whole show.
Next came three singers from The Lion King who proved they had good voices but were a little lacklustre. He Lives In You was a great belter though and it went down well with the crowd.
The Commitments were the first to really get the crowd dancing and raring to go with well-polished and happy hits including Mustang Sally and River Deep, Mountain High. Understudy Ian McIntosh proved himself as perfectly capable in the lead, bouncing around and knowing when to step back, and his rendition of Try A Little Tenderness was just superb. This is the show that West End Live has made me want to go and see the most.
The Pajama Game was a little disappointing; Dan Burton’s voice was mostly very strong and carried the solo song well except in some falsetto places, but I felt like the song they chose didn’t do the show justice – or I hope it didn’t.
But then came my unexpected stars of the day – Thriller Live. From the brilliantly synchronised Jackson Five fronted by a fantastic little Michael singing ABC and I Want You Back to the various older Michaels that sang songs like Rock With You, Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough and Black or White, it was just thrilling (sorry). We even get to see an incredible moonwalk that came and went far too quickly!
Carousel was the biggest disappointment, with a lacklustre medley that failed to hold the crowd’s interest for more than a minute. The barn dancing was initially interesting but the singing stood in a line had no power or emotion whatsoever.
Finally, Jersey Boys! A perfect, exciting and upbeat performance that just kept on giving, with the cast singing Sherry, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Walk Like A Man, My Boyfriend’s Back (sung by the girlgroup), Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, Who Loves You and December 1963 (Oh What A Night). The energy just rose and rose and seeing the group’s synchronised moves and hearing their harmonised, smooth voices was a privilege to see, especially for free.