The second West End Bares took place at Cafe de Paris on Sunday, September 4th 2011. Just like last year there were 2 shows (9:30pm and Midnight) and since I wasn’t able to attend the event in 2010 I decided to treat myself to both performances and stayed a bit for the party afterwards. This ment I got zero sleep that night, and with zero I mean ZERO, as I had a 7:30am flight to catch the next morning. But hey, sleep is overrated anyway, isn’t it?
It’s impossible to do the event justice in a review – you just had to be there. But I do want to sum up my thoughts and I will throw in some pictures just because I know that’s what you all want to see anyway!
The event was hosted by Sheridan Smith and Gok Wan who both did a fantastic job. Sheridan is such a funny and naturally nice person – you cannot not like her. Both her and Gok Wan seemed to have a fantastic time up on stage. I wonder if Sheridan expected to end up in the newspapers the next day for “getting her tits out” though! But then it was for charity which is the perfect excuse.
So, the show started with a number called „Fashionista“ performed by Steven Ceverly, Susie Allman, Jenny Wickham, Will Peaco, Graham Weaver, Damien Poole, Matt Krzan, David Grewcock, Zoe Doano, Lisa Anne Wood, Jayde Westaby, Tara Young and Siobahn Dillon (Choreographer Dom Tribuzio). I love Steven in Priscilla – Queen of the desert and I was delighted to see him on stage at West End Bares. That guy has charisma and is a fantastic performer. And I wish I had those legs!!!
Special mention to the lovely Jayde Westaby – she’s fantastic and I hope it won’t be long until we see her on a West End stage again.
Next up „Icons“ with Hannah Toy, Jasmine Kerr, Louise King, Aisling Duffy, Alex Bird, Lia Given (Choreographer Stuart Winter). That was one very sexy number I have to say. The girls on stage looked amazing. Special shout out to Louise King – what a body (I’m only a bit jealous… honestly!).
The next number „Muse me, abuse me“ was a great dance number performed by Tom Muggeridge and Rachel Ensor (Choreographer Stuart Winter). This one could easily fit into a West End show (minus the stripping if the producers wanted to label their show „family entertainment“).
Straight on to „Hats“ which was one of my personal favourites. Darren Carnall, Summer Strallen and Zizi Strallen in a very clever and entertaining dance number (Choreographer Darren Carnall). I might have seen more of Darren than I ever intended to though!
„Elizabethan“ with Dom Tribuzio, David Rudin, Adam C Garcia, Gregor Scott, Natalie Casey, Emily Whitehead, Carly Meyers and Jess Ellen Knight (Choreographer Fabian Aloise) gets an extra point for chosing the perfect music: Lady Gaga. I was hoping there would be one number with a bit of Gaga and this one was done extremely well. Loved the Elizabethan/Gaga costume!
The next number fits into my blog perfectly: „Confessions of a shopaholic“ performed by Lisa Mathieson, Ian Oswald, Luke Johnson, James Cohen, Callum Nicol, Ben Bunce and Luke Jackson (Choreographer Will Peaco). This one was fun and every girl’s dream – shopping and naked guys, what more do we need?
The temperature in the building must have doubled when Oliver Thornton entered the stage to perform „Mad Men“ with Rachel Muldoon, Michelle Francis, John Phoenix, Paul Saunders, Tristan Temple and Sean Mulligan (Choreographer Ashley Wallen). Judging from the noise I figured at least half the audience had been waiting fort his moment alone. And Oliver certainly didn’t disappoint his supporters – we all know the man has a body like a greek god but he can also move and has stage presence. Though once again I may have seen more than I was planning to!
Then it was time for a performer that had honestly surprised me when he told me he was taking part in this event a few weeks ago: Ramin Karimloo. I would never have guessed it! His number was called „Formalwear“ (Choreographer Ben Bunce) and consisted of him singing „Sex on fire“ by Kings of Leon whilst getting rid of his clothes (of course!). He even got himself some hot dancer (Susie Allman, Jenny Victoria Wickham and Amanda Karimloo). Well, we all know the man has a voice to die for but I may also say: The hours in the gym have definitely not been wasted!
„Fashion Faux Pas“ featured Ivan de Frietas, Paul Read Ayres, Andrew simeon, Anna woodside, Sophie Jones, Sophie Linder Lee and Lizzy Benham (Choreographer Rebecca Howell) and was another fun number full of energy. Seeing Anna on stage was a fantastic surprise as I had no idea she was taking part. As always a joy to watch!
The show went on with „Labels or love“ performed by Aaron Renfree, Paulo Jorge Teixeira, Robert Jones, Jack Hawitt, Amy Thornton, Lauren Varnham, Emily Hawgood and Holly James (Choreographer Aaron Renfree) and came to a close with the specially composed song „Flesh never goes out of fashion“ which was performed brilliantly by Charlotte Riby, Landi Oshinowo and Emma Lindars (Choreographer Gary Murphy). Such power voices and may I add the three looked absolutely stunning.
But, of course, there was still one more number – the famous Rotation. Basically this was the big finale in which the audience got to put their MAD money (available to buy throughout the show – all for charity, of course) in their favourite performers pants. Sounds mad and fun and that’s exactly what it was. I only joined in during the second show and I’m happy to report that my money went to the fabulous Luke Jackson and the amazing Ramin Karimloo (after I had convinced him to come to the front of the stage – the things one does for charity, eh!). Don’t believe me? Well, you better do because I’ve got picture proof!
If I wanted to sum up the whole evening in one word it would be HOT. Every single performance on that stage was absolutely fantastic. I can’t imagine how much work must have gone into organising, preparing, choreographing and rehearsing the whole thing. To see all these performers, many of whom I’ve been watching on stage in various shows for years, dedicating their free time and putting so much effort into this event made me proud to be a supporter of theatre and the people who work in the business. And not to forget the people backstage, the MAD volunteers and everyone else who gave their time to make this happen. It really shows that people can make a difference!
A special mention has to go out to Darren Carnall. Without him there would be no West End Bares. Darren has been the director of the show both in 2010 and in 2011 and has really put his heart and soul into this project. I still haven’t figured out how he managed to do this seeing as he has this little “side job” as Dance Captain and Swing in Ghost the musical as well – my guess is he hasn’t slept for months! Darren, you are a star and I am proud to know you.
And last but not least: Don’t forget the Pant Project everyone. There’s still some time left to bid on a pair of specially designed pants from your favourite show.
Go to http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/madtrust08/m.html?_trksid=p4340.l2562 and check them out! The auctions close on September 16th so get bidding now.
Here’s to West End Bares 3 in 2012 – I certainly can’t wait!!
*Apologies in case I got any of the performers names wrong or if I listed someone who might not have been on stage after all. All numbers and the list of performers were taken out of the West End Bares programme as it was impossible to remember everyting and everyone just from watching the show.*