For this week’s West End Musical Drive-in, we’re back in Edmonton for a filmed record of a two-hour concert hosted by a bouncy Grace Mouat and presented by West End Musical Brunch.
This concert has a larger cast than last week’s all Black special, and nods back to the classics of musical theatre as well as the contemporary. Mama Rose from Gypsy and Becky from Waitress both feature in this outdoor celebration of female roles in music: Tina, SIX, Rent, Hamilton, and Beautiful are all represented.
The Queens – Mouat, Jarneia Richard-Noel (giving us those Tina vibes), Maddie Bullyment, Courtney Bowman, Natalie Paris, Jodie Steele (with Judas’s opening salvo from Jesus Christ Superstar, which she also performed memorably on the first episode on the Theatre Channel), Sophie Isaacs, Vicki Manser, Courtney Stapleton, Collette Guitart, and Shaka McFarlane (what a voice!) are all on top form.
All have appeared at some point in SIX so this is something of a girl power reunion, and in this concert the rain kept off and the sun came out.
Manser, Stapleton and Guitart appear together as Virgo, coming out for their final time “only when you make enough noise”. And noise there is, as car horns blast and dancing audience members squeal.
It’s a lovely sound when you’ve been used to watching on your own from home for so many months. A highlight of Virgo’s performance is a song from Once, “Falling Slowly”, a song usually led by a man but here given new life through the trio.
I found this concert particularly enjoyable because of the joie de vivre on display between the performers (most watch each other from the sidelines) and in the clear enjoyment of those who have paid to come and watch them, when the camera goes on them.
This is what we have been missing: a live connection; a chance to push back the metaphorical carpet and have a bop. Roll on mid-May when shows can recommence.
West End Musical Drive-in streams a different concert each week. This one is available until 28 February and runs two hours. You can book in for future concerts here.
LouReviews received complimentary access to review West End Musical Drive-in.
Read my review of the first streamed concert in this series here.