West End Does: The Magic of Animation 2: Cadogan Hall, London
5th May 2019
The star-studded West End Does: concerts are quickly becoming a must have ticket. This most recent concert focussed on The Magic of Animation and with West End performers such as Carrie-Hope Fletcher, Laura Baldwin, Rob Houchen, John Ellis, Bradley Jaden, Rachel John, a 16-piece orchestra and guest choirs it was a magical night. Everyone loves a good old trip down memory lane and this clever concert featuring songs from children’s animation films, old and new, is certainly a fantastic way to be spending a Sunday evening and it is perfectly set in the glorious Cadogan Hall.
Hosted by Scott Paige and Dan Buckley, who themselves were hilarious, not only was this a night for magical casts, magical music, with a dose of Disney thrown in, but as always the concert was raising money for charity. This time the charity they were supporting was Mouse-Trap Theatre Projects who believe passionately in the power of the theatre being able to transform young lives. They take children and young people who are disadvantaged or have special needs or disabilities to some of London’s top theatres allowing them to get a taste of theatre. In addition to this they also run an extensive range of education projects in disadvantage schools which encourage creativity and help to inspire students to pursue future theatre careers.
The talented cast treated the audience to a diverse selection of well-known and lesser-known songs from the world of animation. Supported along the way by Stagebox Kids, the Guildford School of Acting Choir and a superb cast of four contemporary dancers, the West End stars certainly put on a magical evening. Carrie Hope Fletcher wowed the audience with ‘When She Loved Me‘ from Toy Story 2. We are used to hearing her belt out powerful vocals but this lovely song allowed us to see a more sensitive, delicate side to her character and her vocals were fantastic. Laura Baldwin continued this theme of delicate beauty with ‘A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes‘ from Cinderella. She is every bit the Disney princess and this song, in particular, was sung so delicately with such a lovely tone of voice that it was a delight to listen to. Bradley Jaden showed his power and gusto singing the song ‘I’ll Make a Man Out of You‘ from Mulan. He has brilliant stage presence and command and it was a brilliant song to show off the rich tones to his voice. One of the highlights of the first act was ‘Poor Unfortunate Souls‘ from The Little Mermaid sung and performed hilariously by Scott Paige. As an avid Disney fan Scott appeared to relish being able to release his inner villain and did so triumphantly. Not only were his vocals fantastic but he looked like he was enjoying the whole performance. Celinde Schoenmaker and Rachel John showed off their stunning voices to make the whole audience finish the first act with their mouths open. Their version of ‘When You Believe‘ from The Prince of Egypt was quite literally stunning.
The second act opened with a fun rendition of ‘I’m Still Standing‘ from Sing – The Movie by Jenny O’Leary and Carrie Hope Fletcher whose voices bounced off each other and created fantastic harmonies. One of the standout moments of the second act was ‘Fire on Fire‘ from Watership Down performed by Rob Houchen. The contemporary dancers were brilliant during this moving song and their interpretation of the lyrics added further to Rob’s outstanding passion and characterisation throughout the moving song. The cast of Eugenius were reunited together to sing ‘If Only‘ from The Little Mermaid – The Musical. Dan Buckley, Rob Houchen, Scott Paige and Laura Baldwin proved just why Eugenius was such a hit. Their fantastic rendition of this lesser-known song resulted in goosebumps from their gorgeous harmonies and power. Carrie Hope Fletcher rounded off the evening with ‘Holding Out for a Hero‘ from the musical Shrek. It was great to see the fun that she was having on stage and it was certainly reflective of the whole audience’s mood. The finale including all of the talented cast singing ‘Can’t Stop The Feeling‘ from Trolls with a real crowd pleaser and a brilliant way to end such a fun evening.
Literally every person on that stage is incredibly talented. Rachel John showed she knows how to work an audience during the Lion King medley, John Ellis’s gloriously deep, operatic vocals were brilliant throughout and Celinde Schoenmaker wowed the audience with not only her outstanding vocals but her incredible glamour and beauty on stage. What makes these kinds of concerts so engaging is the fact that they are of amazing quality and yet intimate enough to allow the performers to have fun and engage with the audience. Dan Buckley and Scott Paige were fantastic hosts and they bounce off of each other brilliantly – a comedy duo in the making.
With more what West End Does: concerts already lined up for this year these are a perfect way to spend an evening. The level of talent on display is always incredible and the West End Does: team always go to that extra effort to make sure that the audience have a great night. Not only this but it is all in aid of charity what’s not to like about these amazing concerts!
For information about West End Does: including information about their forthcoming concert West End Does: Halloween click here.
To find out about The Mousetrap Theatre Projects click here.