Let’s be honest here, it’s been a tough old time lately with a near constant supply of bad news and our entire lives flipped upside down. But within that darkness there have been glimmers of light, and for me, those flashes of brightness have always come from theatre. The industry that I love so very much, and the one that so many rely on, is going through an extremely hard time but that doesn’t stop it. Theatre has this amazing ability to evolve and adapt, so much so that not even a global pandemic has been able to stop it entirely. Sometimes all it takes to put a smile on our faces is a song, or a little touch of magic and this weekend we got all of that in The Magic of Animation, the newest concert from West End Does.
In a concert filmed live at St James Church in Islington, The Magic of Animation Unplugged brought together a number of stage favourites performing some of the most famous and much loved songs from animated movies, and it was simply enchanting. Songs from animated movies are sometimes brushed aside as child’s playthings, songs to be hummed along too but never really listened too, but in reality they are some of the most beautiful songs around and this concert only went to prove that as fact.
From The Hunchback of Notre Dame to Toy Story 2, in this hour long concert we were treated to many a famous tune, sung by some of stages greatest talents. I could easily ramble on and on about each and every performance but we would be here all day so we really don’t want to do that, so I will just pick out a few highlights. Scott Paige (Eugenius, Nativity the musical) had me grinning from ear to ear with his rendition of ‘Poor Unfortunate Souls’ from The Little Mermaid, whilst Bradley Jaden (Les Miserables, Wicked) was given the opportunity to truly show off his powerful vocals in his performance of ‘Out There’ from The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Hiba Eachikhe and Rachel John raised the roof with ‘When You Believe’ from The Prince of Egypt.
I have to pick out Rob Houchen (Eugenius, Les Miserables) who stunned with his heartfelt rendition of ‘When Somebody Loved Me’ from Toy Story 2. I think I have mentioned it before in my reviews of Eugenius and The Light In The Piazza, but seriously this incredible performer could sing the dictionary and make it sound extraordinary. I was also impressed with the new talent on display with the young stars of Stagebox Musical Theatre performing a Frozen 2 medley and I particularly enjoyed 2020 graduate Kyle Birch’s performance of ‘You Know Much Better Than I’ from Joseph: King of Dreams.
An hour simply flew past whilst watching this concert and I can only wish that it went on longer, for I could have listened to this brilliantly assembled cast performing these beautiful songs for much longer. With my love of musical theatre and animated movies combined, what more could I possibly want? An hour of beauty and magic, and a real treat.