Review: West End Does: The Magic of Animation (Cadogan Hall)

Reviewed by Emily March
6th May 2018
Reviewer rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ 

There was certainly magic in the room at Sunday night’s West End Does: The Magic of Animation concert at Cadogan Hall. Featuring a star-studded line up of the West End’s brightest leading ladies and gents. Filled with a set-list of old and new songs from our favourite animated movies, from Mulan to Moana, it certainly did not disappoint.

After a stunning Disney overture by the choir and orchestra, led by the charismatic Alex Parker, who seemed to be enjoying the marvellous array of music throughout the night, the wonderful Celinde Schoenmaker(Les Miserables), Eva Noblezada(Miss Saigon) and Danielle Hope(The Wizard of Oz) entered the stage in gorgeous gowns to sing an earth-shattering and perfectly harmonised mash-up of Just Around the Riverbend and Colours of the Wind from Disney’s Pocahontas.

British favourite Christopher Biggins took to the stage as our host for the evening, equip with funny one-liners, he got the room laughing and in good spirit for the concert ahead. Celinde Schoenmaker returned to the stage for a couple of Tangled tunes; a fun performance of When Will My Life Begin, which picked up the tempo in a room which was followed by a beautiful cover of Tangled favourite, I See the Light, where she was joined on stage by Fra Fee(The Ferryman). Celinde looked and sounded beautiful on stage and made the audience question if she actually was the real Rapunzel.

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© Danny Kaan

Eva Noblezada was the highlight of the night for me. Her moving cover of Reflection was incredible, showing off her rich tones and sensational vocal technique, and seemed apt after Noblezada followed in Lea Salonga’s footsteps as Kim in Miss Saigon. She also sang How Far I’ll Go during the concert’s Moana section, with some slick riffs, it definitely impressed the audience and proved that she has a very special talent. Moana on Broadway perhaps?

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© Danny Kaan

Other highlights include Marisha Wallace’s (Dreamgirls) upbeat performance of Zero to Hero from Hercules, which blew the roof of Cadogan Hall and received the biggest applause of the night. The gospel number got everyone dancing and clapping in their seats. What a voice! Although an overdone concert duet, Wicked alumni, Rachel Tucker and current Fiyero, Bradley Jaden’s version of The Prayer from the not so well-known animated movie Quest for Camelot was dramatic and beautiful, and showed off Bradley’s more classical tone. Personally I feel that was a lot stronger than his contemporary performance of Moana’s You’re Welcome, which at times I felt he struggled to keep up with, however still entertaining the crowd with the modern Disney bop.

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© Danny Kaan

Les Miserables star and Creator of West End Does, Rob Houchen, showed off his vocal versatility with an emotional version of Proud of Your Boy from Aladdin and an impressive duet of When You Believe from Prince of Egypt, with vocal powerhouse Marisha Wallace. My favourite performance of the night.

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© Danny Kaan

It was evident that a large portion of the audience was made up of ‘Hopefuls’ – fans of YouTube sensation and teen idol, Carrie Hope Fletcher(Les Miserables). Her renditions of Journey to The Past from Anastasia and Elton John’s Lion King classic, Can You Feel the Love Tonight, were both vocally strong and engaging. As well as her smashing solos, Carrie’s Beauty and The Beast duet with her Les Miserables co-star Rob Houchen, was definitely a magical moment to remember; they even waltzed during the instrumental!

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Overall West End Does was an evening t of pure magic and a true delight to watch, and the only negative is that there wasn’t much interaction between the artists and the audience. I look forward to West End Does: different themed nights in the future.

Photo Credit: Danny Kaan http://dannykaan.nl/portfolio-item/west-end-does-6/

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