West End Musical Drive In

Back in summer 2020 West End Musical Brunch launched West End Musical Drive in and luckily for us it was recorded!

The first concert starred Layton Williams, Shan Ako, Maiya Quansah Breed and Shanay Homes. Shanay Homes founded the company itself and as she explained when she opened the show it is a black owned company. This concert also focused on black performers. I loved that this was the first concert and that this lineup coincided with black history month.

The concert is 1:45 and it really packs in a huge range of songs. There are 20 songs from ballads such as Burn, On My Own and Wall In My Head to upbeat numbers such as Run and Tell That, Land of Lola and Today 4 U as well as opportunities for everything from dance to emotion.

The pace was set really well and with each performer coming out to performed 1 number at a time apart from Layton who was headlining the concert and performed up to 3 numbers at any one go. This ensured that the audience at home was kept interested with the changing performers and styles as the concert went on.

Maiya performed songs such as Burn, Simple Joys, Almost There and Proud Mary. This song selection was nicely done and performing Hamilton right off the bat got all of the Hamilton lovers on side.

Shan sang On My Own, She Used to Be Mine, Braveheart, Simply The Best and Dance With Somebody. It was wonderful to hear Shan sing On My Own (she is ‘currently’ Eponine in Les Miserables) but we were also given an opportunity to support her new EP release when she sang Braveheart, one of her songs from it. Whilst this was a new song to me it was delivered beautifully and I didn’t mind hearing a lesser known song as the rest of the concert was packed with so many well known musical theatre numbers.

Shanay was hosting the event but she also sang Fabulous, One Night Only and This Is Me. She was an upbeat host and her thrill of being up on the stage hosting this event was evident. I also enjoyed the fact that she made it feel personal in terms of artist choice and spoke about when Layton and herself had been in Rent together, or the feeling she had when she saw Shan in Les Miserables.

Finally Layton who was the headline act performed Don’t Even Know It, I’ll Cover You, Wall In My Head, Today 4 U, ABC, Run & Tell That and Land of Lola. I enjoyed the fact that Layton embraced the songs he is known for and probably pleased a huge part of his fan base in the process. It is easy to see why Layton has played roles such as Jamie and Angel bringing huge amounts of energy to the stage and bundles of Charisma. He didn’t even let a wet and slippery stage stop him from summersaulting his way through his dance breaks.

The camera work is nothing flashy but it does what it needs to do and the sound is consistent. Moments such as when Miss Hedges mic doesn’t work during her solo in ‘Don’t Even Know It,’ reminds you just how live it is (and that moment is professionally covered with Layton’s mic). Considering it was a live performance that was being filmed it is surprising that the camera work and the sound is such a good quality.

For those missing Musical Theatre and the variety you can get within the genre West End Musical Drive In is the concert for you.

This is the first in the series of concerts that will be streamed. To buy tickets vivist their website. The shows run Friday – Sunday at 7pm with a different line up each week. Tickets are £15 a concert.

If you like this review you might also like my review of Good Grief, my article about what is currently streaming and my quiz of the West End.

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