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Streaming Review: West End Musical Drive In (2)

Last week a series of five concerts filmed at last years West End Musical Drive In outdoor shows began online. This weekend you can catch the second in that series - and this one is a Six themed spectacular.



The bumper instalment clocks in at over two hours and is full of performances from 11 past and present Queens from the West End and touring casts of the global sensation. The concert originally took place last September at a time when Six had announced a series of Drive in concerts which then unfortunately got cancelled, and before the socially distanced season opened at the Lyric Theatre. This was the only opportunity to see the ex-wives together on a stage at the time.


A musical theatre heavy setlist contained numbers from projects the Queens have done aside from Six with the shows host Grace Mouat opening with 'Confident' from &Juliet, Vicki Manser reprising her role of Carole King for two numbers from Beautiful and Courtney Bowman returning to the world of Everybiody's Talking About Jamie with a sweet rendition of 'It Means Beautiful'.



Other musicals to be featured in the show diversified from the stage and screen with numbers from the Cher and Christina Aguilera movie Burlesque while Natalie May Paris chose to represent songs from Smash! for both of her solo numbers. A supergroup consisting of Vicki Manser, Collette Guitart and Courtney Bowman called Virgo received the most stage time with gorgeous harmonies on numbers such as 'A Soft Place To Land' and a rousing 'Yes' from Dirty Dancing.


Highlights of the show included the always wonderful Jodie Steele displaying her incredible range and unrivaled stage presence with 'Out Tonight' from RENT and 'Heaven On Their Minds' before joining her former Heathers co-star for the ultimate song of friendship and sisterhood - 'For Good' from Wicked. With a timely lyric change of "It well may be that we will never hug again", the performance gained another level of sweetness with Jodie leading Sophie when the timing got the better of her.



Another standout came courtesy of Jarneia Richard-Noel with a sensational version of 'I Am Changing' from Dreamgirls. Those expecting a setlist full of songs from Six had to wait until the end for the Queens to perform the title track in the sole reference to the show, though even then the camera focused more on the audience than the performers.


As with all of the shows in this series, the filming was intended for the audience in their cars only and was never intended to be an online concert. Because of this, the cruder elements of the production have to be forgiven. This performance does a great job of recreating the atmosphere of what it must have been like to be there. Sadly, nearly 6 months later, the performers talking about missing theatre and it returning soon is still relevant as we anxiously wait for our favourite shows to return.



The main sell of this concert series are the performers themselves, and what performers they are. 11 of the finest in the United Queendom, this concert is a timely reminder of how talented these leading ladies are and why, when theatres do eventually reopen their doors, we will all be clamouring to watch them kill it on a stage once more.


Setlist:

Grace Mouat - Confident

Courtney Stapleton - Home

Natalie May Paris - Second Hand White Baby Grand

Collette Guitart - Breathe

Courtney Bowman - It Means Beautiful

Vicki Manser - Natural Woman

Shekinah 'Shaka' McFarlane - Rose's Turn

Maddie Bulleyment - Over The Rainbow

Sophie Isaacs & Jodie Steele - For Good

Virgo - Express/Lady Marmalade

Virgo - A Soft Place To Land

Collette Guitart - Love Will Stand When All Else Falls

Virgo - Falling Slowly

Jodie Steele - Heaven On Their Minds

Jarneia Richard-Noel - I Am Changing



Grace Mouat - How Far I'll Go

Natalie May Paris - Cut, Print, Moving On

Shekinah 'Shaka' McFarlane - Satisfied

Vicki Manser - Beautiful

Shekinah 'Shaka' McFarlane - Something's Got A Hold On Me

Sophie Isaacs - Love You I Do

Virgo - Yes

Jodie Steele - Out Tonight

Maddie Bulleyment - 9 to 5

Courtney Bowman - River Deep Mountain High

Jarneia Richard-Noel - Proud Mary

Virgo - I'm Every Woman

Grace Mouat, Courtney Stapleton & Vicki Manser - Six


★★★★

This instalment of West End Musical Drive In is streamed on https://stream.theatre on Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th February at 7pm. A new concert from the series will stream there from Friday to Sunday every week for the next three weeks with the next instalment a Wicked special.

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