Monday, 11 January 2021

REVIEW: West End Bares Turned On

This is the eleventh year of the fundraising events for the Make a Difference (MAD) Trust, a UK based charity with a vision of a world free from HIV and AIDS. Since its first show in 2010 WEST END BARES has raised over £350,000. This year the funds from the streamed event will go directly to help those on stage and behind the scenes who are experiencing financial hardship while theatres are closed due to the Pandemic. The Trust has helped 250 theatre workers already this year. 

This year's show called WEST END BARES: TURNED ON features the best of the West End and beyond and was filmed in accordance with Covid safety guidelines. It was directed by Will Lucas, with choreography from Jenny Legg (9 to 5), Aaron David Jenkins (Wicked), Fletcher Dobinson (Cats) and David Grewcock (Singin’ In The Rain). Each directed a different segment of the forty-minute show which took it inspirations from the idea of turning on different TV channels. Each channel became a choreographed routine with scantily clad dancers in witty parodies of the original shows. There is a strong opening zoom routine from the bedrooms of four performers Courtney Bowen, Nicholas McClean, Sophie Evans and Zizi Strallen with 'Turned on' in what proved to be the best song of the evening.

Tom Allen then introduces the show, although rather than bare all, covers up to protect against Covid. Amy Hart introduced a parody of Cilla Black's Blind Date with some clever cartoon elements overlaid. Todrick Hall introduced a tribute to The Discovery channel with a strong routine in a dance studio. The History Channel looked back at footage from past live shows. The Cooking channel offered a fresh take on the Naked Chef with some flour-covered handprints! Michelle Visage introduced the News Channel with clips from MAD fundraising routines available on youtube.

Graham Norton and the originator of Broadway Bares, the choreographer/Director Jerry Mitchell both urge audiences tuning in to add donations in support of the Trust and endorsements are added from performers from around the World including USA, Italy, Singapore, South Korea and Australia.

This has become a regular fundraising event in the Broadway and West End Calendar in a worthy cause and attracting the support of many performers for a fun night. It has adapted this year for the small screen but still seeks to raise the spirits and funds. It has lost some of its energy and appeal in the translation but deserves our support and on dark cold winter nights warms the heart!

Review by Nick Wayne 

Rating: ★★★★

Seat: Online | Price of Ticket: £5 for 24-hour access

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