Last years West End Musical Drive In concerts were a lifeline when we were in desperate need of a theatre fix. Ahead of their long awaited return next month, some of the previous concerts are being made available to stream online. This week it's a celebration that's all to do with Wicked.
The incredibly popular show has been defying the odds for 15 years on the West End now, becoming a firm favourite with many theatre lovers (myself included - it is still the musical I have seen more than any other). However, since last March it has found its doors at both the Apollo Victoria and on Broadway remain closed. The Drive In concerts provide a chance for both fans of the show and even the cast themselves to showcase why Wicked means so much to so many and why it has been such a massive hit for the best part of two decades.
For this celebration, four Witches past and present united on one stage to perform songs from the show and the world of musical theatre. Host Shanay Holmes introduced three Elphabas - Alice Fearn, Laura Pick and Emma Hatton as well as a former Glinda in the shape of Sophie Evans. Together they performed five of the most well loved numbers from the show.
Alice Fearn and Sophie Evans reunited on stage for the first time since leaving the show together in 2019, delivering a highly emotional and flawless rendition of 'For Good' - a number that packs even more significance considering the fact they hadn't performed it together since leaving the show, and given the circumstances of the show being closed. Current Elphaba was joined by cast member Carl Man (the token man of the show) for a duet on 'As Long As You're Mine' complete with timely lyric change "For the first time in a long time, I feel wicked" while Emma Hatton worked her magic on 'No Good Deed' complete with a windblown dress. All we needed was smoke and she would have been back at the Apollo. It was left to Alice Fearn to deliver the shows most iconic number with a spellbinding performance of the incredible 'Defying Gravity'
It wasn't all about Wicked in the concert. Alice Fearn delivered a stunning 'Being Alive' from Company before duetting with fellow Elphaba Emma Hatton on standout moment 'When You Believe' from The Prince of Egypt. Other highlights included Laura Pick performing 'Let It Go' from Frozen, Shanay Holnes revisiting the role of Mimi in RENT for 'Out Tonight' and Sophie Evans upping the tempo with a bit of 'Fame'.
Originally taking place 6 months ago, the cries from the performers about how theatre is on its knees and how deprived we are for it is still sadly all too relevant today. This concert was a much needed glimmer of hope when it first took place and remains so to this day. While questionable camerawork and the constant shouting to honk your horns may feel jarring at times, it has to be reiterated that this concert was never meant to be professionally filmed and streamed online. It is what it is - and what it is is a fantastic concert full of stellar performances from some wonderful witches.
This concert was a stark reminder of why so many of us are mourning Wicked. While we have all been through something bad over the past 12 months, the good news is the show must go on and it looks like Wicked will be back playing to packed audiences in the not too distant future - Thank goodness!
Shanay Holmes - Diamonds Medley
Sophie Evans - Part Of Your World
Emma Hatton - What Baking Can Do
Alice Fearn - Being Alive
Laura Pick - Hopelessly Devoted To You
Laura Pick & Carl Man - As Long As You're Mine
Sophie Evans - Popular
Sophie Evans & Alice Fearn - For Good
Emma Hatton - No Good Deed
Emma Hatton & Alice Fearn - When You Believe
Laura Pick - Let It Go
Shanay Holmes - Out Tonight
Alice Fearn - Defying Gravity
Laura Pick - Somebody To Love
Sophie Evans - Fame
Laura Pick - River Deep Mountain High
Alice Fearn - Into The Unknown
Sophie Evans - Don't Stop Believin'
Emma Hatton - This Is Me
Shanay Holmes - One Night Only
This installment of West End Musical Drive In is streamed on https://stream.theatre on Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th March at 7pm. A new concert from the series will stream there from Friday to Sunday every week for the next two weeks.