West End Live and Jack Dee’s Referendum Helpdesk!

Hello lovely people, and welcome to Summer! It may be raining non-stop, and we may still have to whack out socks and Converses, but then sometimes it’s so hot that the sun hits your skin so much and you get burned and you’re rocking the red chest (accurate description of myself right now!)

Yesterday, I went down to London once again. This seems to be quite a common thing at the moment. Three times in a month is mad considering I’m still at uni, but I couldn’t let a West End Live opportunity slip out of my grasp. Basically, West End Live is a weekend event in London that showcases the best musicals and theatre groups in the West End all for FREE! It’s absolutely incredible, and I’ve been every year since 2013. The first time was when I was in the training program at West End Kids and I loved watching all my pals perform. Now, I can watch the next generation and it’s incredible to see the work that my teachers still put in! (Martin and Emma are absolute geniuses).

West End Live 2016 was bloody fab; I saw some of my favourite shows and my favourite performers and I had an incredible time! The queue was not great, and I do think that the festival should move to either Hyde or St James Park, in order to accommodate for the amount of people who clearly want to appreciate the arts! Bigger stage, bigger crowd, more theatre fun I say.

Anyway, on to the highlights of the day and one of the major highs was seeing Beverley Knight perform. She is an absolute asset to the West End world, and her rendition of ‘I Will Always Love You’ was jawdroppingly good. Plus, she’s the cutest and gave the sweetest interview ever.

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Yes Beverley Knight, I will always love you. 

At West End Live, it’s not just musical theatre that performs, but shows going on in the West End at the moment. Barbu performed, and when they first walked on, I thought it was going to be a hot mess. IT WAS INCREDIBLE! Their strength and trust in each other knew no bounds, and I was left speechless!

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Barbu demonstrated the ultimate levels of trust that a performer needs. 

Straight after Barbu came my old theatre group, and I was so proud!!! They absolutely stormed the stage, performing a Chaplin medley and the precision was dreamy and to die for. Since being in West End Kids, I’ve realised just how important precision is, whether it be an open or closed hand or how high the kick needs to be, it all needs to be the same. WEK Choreographer Emma is an absolute stickler for this, but it produces the best results and I wish I could go to a training session as a one-off to get beasted.

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WEK smashed it. 

A small time after WEK came what I think is my favourite show to see at West End Live. I need to see the Jersey Boys, and is it really a West End Live if you don’t fancy a Jersey Boy? This year, it’s this man. We could be together in all four seasons, see what I’m saying…

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Love you Jersey Boys.

After Jersey Boys came another theatre professional in the shape of Samantha Barks. A dainty performer who gained fame from the programme ‘I’ll do Anything’, Sam is now the face of Eponine. However, I think she’d be PERFECT as the UK’s version of Eliza Schuyler for when we FINALLY GET HAMILTON ON OUR WEST END. Her rendition of ‘On My Own’ was exquisite. Yet, when she was performing, I had a stark realisation that one of my best pals has performed with Samantha Barks at the O2 and then I realised that my life is so not stagey at all in comparison to my peers.

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Samantha was absolutely gorgeous! 

Along from this came Murder Ballad, a show which was advertising itself at West End Live for its run in September. However, its cast of both Kerry Ellis and Ramin Karimloo together was AWESOME to hear together. If only I was in the country to see the show, I definitely would.

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Kerry and Ramin being absolute stars. 

The audience were also treated to a delightful performance of Moonriver by Pixie Lott, starring in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I was particularly looking forward to seeing Pixie as she was one of my favourite singers during my early years of high school and she did not disappoint. Once Pixie had performed, I then left West End Live. For me, Pixie finished off my West End Live experience this year as a fabulous one, complete with stagey jazz hands.

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Pixie Lott gets a LOT of my loving. 

Once I’d been to West End Live, I then headed over to the ITV Studios to watch a taping of Jack Dee’s Referendum Helpdesk. I went to the Election Helpdesk last year, so it was cool to see him discussing political topics once again. It featured Jeremy Hardy, Nina Wadia, Nish Kumar and my fave b Katherine Ryan, and it was hilarious!

One of my favourite parts of the recording was a guy asking about if we can choose a city of culture, to which he said that it should be Luton. I cheered almost immediately to the shock horror and gasps of everyone around me… alright lads and lasses, sorry for not being upper class. We then high-fived to which Nish and Katherine were like ‘this is great, we love this and we love them’. Fingers crossed it makes the programme, but I am a sunburned mess.

There were plenty of wonderful questions of which I do not want to spoil, but they consisted of Italian women, hoovers, pet passports (will Katherine be okay, who knows?) and the voting process.

So, once again, my day in London was clearly a storming success, and the next time I’m in London (unless I go before this) is to see STRICTLY COME DANCING at the BBC PROMS at the ROYAL ALBERT HALL. I am SO excited for this, our seats are great and I can live a stagey life and hopefully get Gleb to marry me? Feasible.

If you want to see why West End Live was fab, just check this out. The West End Gospel Choir did a Hamilton medley and it was everything. This is also my film, because now I upload fun things to Youtube.

Enjoy,

Sophie x

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