Theatre Review: The West End Men - Vaudeville Theatre ✭✭✭✭

The West End Men
Vaudeville Theatre
Top price tickets for £28.50

3rd June 2013:A star studded auditorium were out in force for the press night of The West End Men at London's Vaudeville Theatre. The likes of Denise Van Outen, Claire Sweeney, Tom and Giovanna Fletcher and many more were here to witness some songs from shows sung by some rather talented West End Men - the title rather gives it away!

Who are these West End Men? I hear you ask... Well they are David Thaxton (the ginger one), Glenn Carter (the dancing one), Matt Willis (the expensive one from Busted) and Lee Mead (the curly one off the telly)... don't worry, when you see the show you will understand the descriptions. They've all appeared on stage at some point, and they are joined on stage by Kerry Ellis (needs no introduction really).

All the guys have different vocal ranges, with the show starting off with Pure Imagination which blends into Sondeheim's Being Alive, Love Changes Everything and Music of the Night - with all four songs being sung at the same time to the tune of Being Alive - it works rather nicely. They all do solo bits, Lee Mead revisits Joseph with Close Every Door, Matt Willis appears at ease singing a Busted track - Year 3000Glenn Carter does a magnificent rendition of Gethsemane from Jesus Christ Superstar, and David Thaxton powers his way through 'Til I hear You Sing from Love Never Dies. Act one ends with good harmonies for Kiss From a Rose.

Lee Mead and Kerry Ellis
Photo by Poppy Carter
Act Two starts with an acoustic medley of West Side Story numbers, It's slow to start off with but we are saved later in the evening with the star of the show, Kerry Ellis who comes on to lend her powerful lungs to the proceedings, singing a beautiful version of At Last, before a duet with the not so powerful Lee Mead for As Long You're Mine from Wicked, leaving Kerry to sing Defying Gravity yet again! The addition of The West End Men Choir is a lovely touch, Bring Him Home from Les Mis especially making my hair stand on end. Ending with Bohemian Rhapsody, the night comes to a close.

Huge credit to this show must go the band! Will Stuart is a fantastically animated MD and pianist, and the five piece sound lovely, crisp and clear with sound design from Andrew Johnson. Add this to the old style staging, old lanterns strewn about (some patt23's and 743's knocking about for the technically minded), Matt Eagland's lighting is subtle and works well with the concept of the open stage.

An enjoyable evening, with good singing helped by better arrangements, and the addition of Kerry Ellis. If you are a fan of show tunes being sung in concert style, then this is right up your street!

Four stars ✭✭✭✭

25 MAY – 22 JUNE

Performances: Monday – Saturday at 8.00pm
Saturday matinee at 3.00pm
Ticket prices: £20 - £47.50
Address: Vaudeville Theatre, 404 Strand,
London WC2R 0NH