West End Does: The Magic of Animation, Cadogan Hall | Review

West End Does: The Magic of Animation

05/05/19
Cadogan Hall
Reviewed by Mia Goddard
★★★★★
Featuring a star-studded line up of some of the West End’s favourites, The Magic of Animation 2 provided a magical night filled with songs from your favourite animated movies. From classics like The Little Mermaid and Pocahontas, to songs from musical adaptations of these wonderful movies, it certainly did not disappoint.
The West End Does concerts are quickly becoming a must-see for musical theatre fans. The impressively star-studded concert featured Rob Houchen, Carrie Hope Fletcher, Celinde Schoenmaker, Bradley Jaden, Laura Baldwin, Jenny O’Leary, Rachel John, John Ellis and was hosted by the hilarious Scott Paige and Dan Buckley, who are all exceptional performers in their own way. 
The concert was also supported by Stagebox Kids and the Guilford School of Acting choir, along with four superb contemporary dancers to accompany the singers. Alex Parker served as musical director and conductor and it was a pleasure to see how much he seemed to enjoy the music.
After a lovely overture by the superb orchestra, the show opened with John Ellis giving a very strong performance of ‘Better Than I’ from Joseph King of Dreams, showing off his operatic vocals. This was followed by Bradley Jaden’s powerful performance of ‘I’ll Make A Man Out of You’ from Mulan, accompanied by six young men of the Guilford School of Acting choir, who were also outstanding. This song was perfect to show off Bradley’s vocal skills and wonderful stage presence.
A strong highlight of the night for me was Scott Paige singing ‘Poor Unfortunate Souls’ from The Little Mermaid. This song not only captured Scott’s amazing comedy ability, but also his strong vocal set, and you could clearly see how much he was enjoying the performance.
A second highlight of the first act had to be Carrie Hope Fletcher’s performance of ‘Journey To The Past’ from Anastasia after a lovely rendition of ‘In My Dreams’ and ‘My Petersburg’ by Stagebox kids. Her vocal skills are unlike any other and she completely blows me away every time I see her perform. She also gave a beautiful performance of ‘When She Loved Me’ from Toy Story 2, which brought a tear to my eye.
The first act ended with a fantastic performance of ‘When You Believe’ from The Prince of Egypt performed by Rachel John and Celinde Schoenmaker, which demonstrated their stunning vocals, ending the first act on a high. Rachel showed us all she knows how to perform and Celinde’s vocal skills are to die for.
Act 2 opened with Carrie Hope Fletcher and Jenny O’Leary performing a very fun and upbeat song with ‘I’m Still Standing’ from the movie Sing. Their voices blended perfectly together, creating wonderful harmonies, and it was lovey to see these two onstage together again after seeing them perform in Heathers The Musical last year.
They were followed by Rob Houchen’s extremely strong performance of ‘Fire On Fire’ from Watership Down, which completely took my breath away. Rob’s skill set is outstanding and it’s always a pleasure to hear him sing. This was a definite highlight of the night for me.
Dan Buckley gave a sweet and strong performance of ‘Proud Of Your Boy’ from Disney’s Aladdin, before reuniting with his Eugenius cast members Rob Houchen, Scott Paige and Laura Baldwin to sing ‘If Only’ from The Little Mermaid. Their fantastic version of this song showed off each of their vocal skills, whilst creating gorgeous harmonies.
This was followed by Bradley Jaden singing ‘Who I’d Be’ from Shrek The Musical which is one of my favourite musical theatre songs. Bradley gave an outstanding performance, once again showing off his amazing vocals and stage presence, soon accompanied by Laura Baldwin and John Ellis, which made this performance even stronger and a for sure highlight for me. 
Carrie Hope Fletcher rounded off the evening with ‘Holding out For A Hero’ from Shrek, followed by the cast performing ‘Can’t Stop the Felling’ from the movie Trolls, which was a fun and brilliant way to end the evening. 
With more West End Does concerts already planned for later this year, they are a perfect way to spend the evening. The entire cast are all incredibly talented and provided the audience with a truly fantastic evening. West End Does once again put on an amazing concert and it was definitely a theatre highlight for me that won’t be forgotten. From the beautiful songs to the outstanding vocals, it was certainly one magical night.