West End Musical Drive In Online
Musical theatre has been on its knees since the pandemic struck last year, but the enthusiasm of the beloved genre can’t be kept down. West End Musical Drive In, organised by West End Musical Brunch and now streaming via Stream.Theatre, is a month-long series of performances from the theatre district’s finest. It’s a virtual punch in the air and a celebratory reminder of what musical lovers are missing right now.
The show must go on in more ways than one for this opening show. Despite lockdown and a classic British summer (it was pouring with rain), Shanay Holmes takes to the stage as the evening’s compere. The previous star of West End production The Bodyguard, Holmes displays not only her own fabulous vocal talents but an indefatigable energy and commitment. The limited line-up also has enough talent and power to carry the audience through an hour and 40 minutes of show tunes and pop numbers.
The drive-in boasts an impressive range of numbers from across the contemporary musical canon: Hamilton, Rent, Tina, Everybody Loves Jamie, Les Miserables and a few Disney favourites. Maiya Quansah Breed stands out, with verve and pitch-perfect vocals for Tina Turner’s version of Rollin’ on the River. Shan Ako’s soulful, strained lament On My Own from Les Miserables also raises goosebumps. Headline act Layton Williams brings pure diva energy, the young sensation captivating for both his singing ability and for managing to avoid breaking his neck as he pirouettes and backflips in six-inch heels on a stage doused in rain.
For fans of the BBC’s recent Musicals: The Greatest Shows, this is a perfect follow-up. The sound quality is consistent and remarkably clear, and the panning shots over the enduring car-park audience – who slowly emerge from their cars to sing and dance in the rain – add to the atmosphere of joy. It’s a sweet tonic to ongoing lockdown blues and a sure hit for musical theatre devotees.
West End Musical Drive In is available to stream from 19th February until 21st March 2021. For further information or to book visit Stream.Theatre’s website here.
Watch a trailer for the show here: