West End Heroes
Reviewed by Michaela Clement-Hayes
Dominion Theatre – 23rd June 2013
The Dominion Theatre: known to everyone as the home of We Will Rock You. But on Sunday, the hoards of people queuing up in Tottenham Court Road were awaiting something even more spectacular.
London can do theatre. There are so many fabulous shows in our capital city that you can’t help feeling proud of our performers. But Great Britain has plenty to be proud of, including our rich history. Yet what would our history be without the service men and women who have fought to keep Britannia ruling the waves?
Music has been a part of the British forces for hundreds of years and West End Heroes – the brain child of David Pearson, the Dominion Theatre’s General Manager – combines the West End with the military, not to mention a healthy dose of patriotism. One star-studded evening to raise money for Help for Heroes.
The evening can only be described as spectacular, bringing the audience to its feet for many of the performances and leaving many people’s eyes shining with tears – both of laughter and pride.
After an upstanding performance of God Save The Queen, the show was a non-stop musical extravaganza, a mixture of solos, ensembles, dancing and singing, accompanied by The Central Band of the Royal Air Force, The Royal Air Force Squadronaires, The Band of HM Royal Marines Portsmouth (who performed unbelievable moves with their drumsticks) and The Band of the Irish Guards.
Compered by funny-man Brian Conley – who just about managed to keep to the right edge of the mark – Act One highlights included Rachel Tucker singing Don’t Rain on My Parade and the cast of Some Like it Hip Hop.
Yet Flight Lieutenant Matthew Little’s emotional performance of Stars was truly outstanding, bringing tears to several audience members.
Everyone needed the upbeat start to Act 2 provided by the cast of 42nd Street and Bohemian Rhapsody and Always Look On the Bright Side of Life kept up the jovial atmosphere as everyone joined in both songs with gusto.
But then we were all reminded why we were there, with the lovely voice of Musician Ellie Lomas singing Feels Like Home, accompanied by footage of military heroes greeting their families. I’m sure I wasn’t the only person with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes watching all the children greet their mummies and daddies after weeks without them.
After the lovely Geronimo Rauch (who may be the best Jean Valjean since Colm Wilkinson) performed Bring Him Home, hundreds of flags waved, people cheered and hands clapped as the West End Heroes Company took to the stage for Do You Hear the People Sing?
Hands sore and voices hoarse, the audience marched out with the band playing, feeling amazed, emotionally drained and proud.