torstai 21. kesäkuuta 2018

West End Live 2018 (in English)

I visited the event with a press pass, thank you West End Live!
photos and videos © Susanna Salmi

Oh what a weekend I had last week! Of course it was so nice to go to London again and see three good shows but what made my weekend especially amazing was West End Live. It's an event on Trafalgar Square where over thirty shows perform to an audience of thousands - and it's completely free! And really, really popular, there were long lines to the area many hours before the gates opened. But even though there were a lot of people watching the musicals perform, the audience was very polite and kind and there was always enough room to walk aroud and move.

I was most excited to see performances from Kinky Boots, Everybody's Talking About Jamie, Bat out of Hell, Wicked, Heathers, Eugenius!, Circolombia and Aladdin and all of them were really good and worth the wait. I also had some eye-opening experiances and nice surprises, like Matilda, Six, West End Kids and Knights of the Rose. Every show was from the top of the musical world and the cast from every musical was very talented, it's just amazing how many skilled people there are working with musicals.

The audience loved every show, but especially Heathers (how loudly can a few thousand people scream?? What an amazing feeling to stand among them and hear how much they love this story), Wicked, Matilda, Six and Everybody's Talking About Jamie. And this is according to the amount of screaming and cheering the shows got. Every one of the performances got huge ovation but some bigger than other.

So, the shows were brilliant and worth seeing, but how about the event? We don't have anything like this in Finland (at least not yet, hopefully someday) so it was kind of funny and kind of exciting to go and see what this is all about. And it was so cool! The event was really well organized, the area was clear and there were screens so people could see the performances from farther off the stage. I was so happy to see that there was a sign language interpreter translating the songs. I did think that there should have been a few more food stalls in the area and maybe a few more lanes to walk but mostly it was very comfy and enjoyable to visit West End Live. This was it's fourteenth year and it seems like there is a lot of learning and memories from the past years, because the event stayed in schedule very well, the atmosphere was so warm and friendly, everything went smoothly and even the weather was perfect.

A few special mentions. Lily-Mae Evans and Sara Munday were absolutely wonderful as Matilda on Saturday and Sunday. Luke Bayer was a joy for the eyes and ears as Jamie, I saw John McCrea in the role when I saw Everybody's Talking About Jamie but Luke was as great as John. The cast of Eugenius! seemed super happy and excited to be on stage, and oh how nice it was finally hear these songs live! I love Eugenius!, I found it on Spotify and was so bummed it had closed, but luckily they are back (and even better)! Six was a big surprise but a very nice one, what a big amount of girl power and sassiness right there! Jamie Muscato and Carrie Hope Fletcher's duet of Seventeen from Heathers was amazing, so was Jordan Fox's Soul of a Man from Kinky Boots.  I was really happy to see my favourite Fiyero Oliver Savile on stage performing with the cast of Knights of the Rose. And Defying Gravity gave me chills, as it always does.

To be honest, I don't think my visit could have been any better. This was a great first time to visit West End Live, it was all I dreamed of and even more, which is a lot. I didn't have time to see every show but those I saw were great, they had chosen great songs to perform and the presence and energy on stage and in the audience was something really cool. I really hope to be back next year, this was so fun!

with the Disney's Lion King gang! © Virpi Salmi
also found some movie guys © Virpi Salmi

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