Parallel production’s West End Switched Off is an evening of cabaret to promote the launch of their new CD and to raise money for Survivors UK. Hoping to do to Musical Theatre what Radio 1’s Live Lounge did to pop, we are promised to be entertained with newly arranged versions of MT classics, both old and new.
There is a rousing pre-show atmosphere with closely packed tables and patrons singing along to the the bar’s CD. The artists descend onto stage via the spiral staircase and perform almost face to face with the front row, accompanied by the versatile 4 piece band led by Kris Rawlinson, one of the event’s organisers.
The performers range from new graduates to Musical Theatre legends and TV Stars. Jordan Lee Davies, recent contestant on ‘The Voice,’ headlines the evening with some spectacular performances, including a rather gorgeous rendition of Gershwin’s ‘Someone To Watch Over Me’ and an unspeakably camp but highly entertaining version of ‘Take Me Or Leave Me’ from Rent, performed alongside Gary Wood. This is one of the evening’s highlights.
The overall standard was very high, if a little under rehearsed in places. Additional stand out performances came from Jodie Steele with her ‘chilled’ version of ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ and Thomas Sutcliffe with a beautiful, moving rendition of ‘Quiet’ from Matilda. Sabrina Aloueche oozed diva status from the moment she stepped on stage and Ambra Caserotti was simply charming.
Host, Dean McCullough compered the evening with spilled secrets, tour announcements and artist plugs. A fun evening for Musical Theatre fans and wonderful to see the proud faces of friends and family in the crowd.
*** (3 stars)