Review: West End Musical Drive-In (2) (online)

This weekend sees the second in the West End Musical Drive-In series launched online and is a must-watch for any fans of the hit musical Six! The show sees eleven past and present Six cast members reunite for an entertaining outdoor concert.  

The second West End Musical Drive-In is hosted by the bubbly Grace Mouat, and also stars Courtney Stapleton, Natalie May Paris, Collette Guitart, Courtney Bowman, Vicki Manser, Shekinah McFarlane, Maddie Bulleyment, Sophie Isaacs, Jodie Steele and Jarneia Richard-Noel. Featuring songs from a range of hit musicals including Beautiful, In The Heights, Dreamgirls, The Wizard of Oz and Wicked, along with tunes from SMASH and Disney’s Moana, there really is something for every musical fan to enjoy. 

West End Musical Drive-In is a great opportunity to witness some incredible talent, and as with the first concert it’s so heartening to see how excited the performers are to be back on stage performing to a crowd. There is certainly no weak link in the line-up and there are some fantastic performances, including Courtney Stapleton’s version of Home from Beetlejuice, Jodie Steele’s rendition of Heaven On Their Minds from Jesus Christ Superstar, the fabulous Shekinah McFarlane performing Something’s Gotta Hold On Me from Burlesque, and Vicki Manser showing why she was cast in the musical Beautiful with incredible renditions of Beautiful and (You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman. Grace Mouat, who before lockdown was starring in &Juliet, is an enthusiastic and supportive host and also opens the show with an energetic performance of Confident from the musical. With the first act featuring more ballads, the second act takes things up a notch with more upbeat numbers including an ode to Tina the musical with fantastic renditions of Proud Mary and River Deep Mountain High by Jarneia Richard-Noel and Courtney Bowman respectively. And of course Six fans are eventually rewarded when the ex-wives reunited for the closing number Six.

With the first concert in the series offering mostly solo numbers, it’s great to see the odd duet and group number thrown in this time round. Former Heathers co-stars Sophie Isaacs and Jodie Steele reunite to perform the beautiful For Good from Wicked; while Vicki Manser, Courtney Stapleton and Collette Guitart, who all impress with their solo numbers, also come together as their mini group Virgo to sing a collection of songs including Express from the film Burlesque, and Lady Marmalade from Moulin Rouge, and their harmonies are simply incredible. 

There are odd times when the sound drops, and likewise in this episode it is more noticeable when the cameras miss the action on stage, instead focusing on crowd members and stewards. But these concerts were never intended to be streamed to a wider audience, and the visual quality can be forgiven thanks to the incredible vocals on stage. 

A love letter to musical theatre, the second in the West End Musical Drive-In series features an incredibly talented line-up and some brilliant and varied song choices. This concert is a must-watch to get your musical theatre fix until theatres can finally reopen their doors later this year.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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