This weekend just past was a bookmark in the year of a musical theatre fan as West End Live came to London for the 13th year running. Trafalgar Square was transformed into a world of music and theatre love as the show kicked off on Saturday and ended Sunday night.
Beginning with medleys from Aladdin and Wicked, the line up included Phantom of the Opera, Matilda, Jesus Christ Superstar and that was only on the Saturday. Featuring the stars of the West End it was wonderful to see many understudies being given the opportunity to belt out our favourite songs onstage alongside their fellow cast members and headline actors. Sunday brought The Lion King, School of Rock and The Wedding Singer among many other shows and performances from the talented players of the West End.
As a lover of Musical Theatre, I felt at home with music playing, the crowd dancing and everyone joining in. The team from Heart FM kept the energy up between shows attempting the Dirty Dancing lift and chatting to the audience. It wasn't difficult to make new friends standing in the line belting out 'Defying Gravity' or dancing in large groups to 'Dancing Queen'. The enjoyment was contagious and it wasn't long before everyone was singing their hearts out to Les Miserables.
Several stands were open throughout the day with costumes from the theatres and chances to see the behind-the-scenes aspects of some of the most popular shows. One impressive one in particular was the costumes from Lion King which featured Mufasa's crown.
Mamma Mia was definitely a highlight for those of us in the audience as everyone joined in together for an Abba singalong. It was great fun to find others who knew all the words and we ended up singing as a large group, louder than those on stage.
Les Misérables gave everyone in Trafalgar Square goosebumps as Killian Donnelly sang the beautiful 'Bring Him Home,' bringing the crowd to a momentary silence with his sweet voice.
Finally, my favourite moment of festival was the cast of Half a Sixpence showcasing their never-ending energy on stage with my favourite song - 'Flash, Bang, Wallop' cartwheeling around the stage and singing to their heart's content, they had everyone joining in!
The event itself was fun and well organised. Although the lines wrapped from Trafalgar Square to Piccadilly circus upon arrival at 10:30am, everyone got into the square and had a great day, whilst always feeling safe. The security and organisers deserve recognition for providing a wonderful weekend to all of us 'theatre luvvies'.
Bring on West End Live 2018!