REVIEW: HOLLYWOOD PROMS (Lytham Festival) ★★★★

The Lytham Festival celebrated ten years last week with a five day festival featuring headline acts The Human League, Stereophinics, Rod Stewart, Kylie Minogue and Hollywood Proms with Sheridan Smith and Michael Ball. We went along for the last two nights and specifically for the musical theatre feast that closed the festival.

Sheridan Smith wowed the audience with performances of Don’t Rain On My Parade (from Funny Girl), City of Stars (from La La Land) and This Is Me (from The Greatest Showman), which she performed with Blackpool based inclusive theatre company Tramshed (which she is Patron of). It was a slight shame Sheridan Smith only performed three songs as the entire show was sold off the back of just Michael Ball and Sheridan’s names and so a little more from her would have been nice but what she did do was fantastic.

Michael Ball was his usual fabulous self, laughing and joking with the crowd as well as belting out songs like As If We Never Said Goodbye (from Sunset Boulevard), Evermore (from Beauty and the Beast), He Lives In You (The Lion King), The Rose and New York New York (from On The Town).

Other West End surprises came from Jamie Muscato, Jodie Steele, Collabro, Jon Robyns, Daniel Brocklebank and Lauren Samuels. Marisha Wallace looked stunning and blew everyone away with her iconic rendition of I’m Telling You (from Dreamgirls) and Listen, a duet with Rachel John.

Original Kim in Miss Saigon, Lea Salonga (who is currently touring the UK) made a surprise appearance and was even gracious enough to have a picture with us after the show. She gave gorgeous performances of I Dreamed A Dream (from Les Miserables) and Reflection (from Mulan).

But the star of the show was original Tracey Turnblad in the West End production of Hairspray, Leanne Jones, who stunned the audience with Good morning Baltimore (from Hairspray) and Skyfall (from the James Bond film). The full company finished off the night with You Can’t Stop The Beat from Hairspray which has everyone up and dancing off home.

The pauses between songs were a little off-putting at times, with screens turning black whilst the next act was lined up and perhaps snippets of video montages (like the ones shown at the start of the show) could have been distributed throughout the night to make it look a little more seamless.

The 10th anniversary of the Lytham Festival was a well produced by Cuffe and Taylor and I look forward to the next ten years of the festival. My only regret? I never made it over to the hog roast van. Next time!

Reviewed by West End Wilma

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