Review: West End Musical Drive In
3.0Overall Score

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I know I sound like a broken record, but I really do miss live theatre. Watching West End Musical Drive In, seeing the sunlit car park exuding pure joy, I’m filled with a real sense of FOMO. I am eternally grateful that companies have been able to keep sharing content by streaming online, but for an event which at its core is designed to engage with its audience there and then, a recording of said show cannot deliver the same feeling of communal enjoyment.

It’s important to add that none of that is the company’s fault; it is just an unfortunate side effect of the times. West End Musical Drive In is brought to us by the same people who created West End Musical Brunch — a successful immersive musical experience. In a Covid world, the company’s drive-in alter ego offers the perfect set up to put on socially-distanced shows.

Tonight’s recording brings together the stars of Aladdin: Trevor Dion Nicholas, Hiba Elchikhe and Matthew Croke, with Shanay Holmes who both performs and hosts tonight’s performance. These performers all boast pretty impressive musical CVs, so it’s only to be expected that the talent demonstrated onstage is immense. The cast take us through a range of songs from a whole host of musicals; from songs to cry to, to songs to dance to (and occasionally jump on your car roof to), the line up delivers a night to delight any musical fans.

An event like this relies so heavily on the audience being willing to join in, to help close the gap between actor and audience. The crowd are a little tentative at the beginning, but by the halfway point, camera shots of the audience are filled with people dancing and singing along, smiling and laughing in every frame. Even sat alone in my bedroom, I too catch myself singing along once or twice.

Back when the show was originally recorded, West End Musical Brunch was celebrating its second birthday, and no one can say they don’t throw a fantastic party. However, as I’m sure many of you are now familiar with, celebrating a party over zoom just isn’t the same as celebrating in person. If you can’t wait for the day musical’s welcome back live audiences, then perhaps streaming West End Musical Drive In is for you. For me, when the time comes that we can finally watch theatre away from our computer screens, I truly hope people can experience this show in the only way I think can do it justice — live.

West End Musical Drive In is streaming online until 21 March. For more information and tickets, see the production’s website.