As hybrid concepts go, I expect that a West End sing-along combined with the now ubiquitous ‘bottomless brunch’ is already stoking the internal fires of most avid Wilma readers. On paper, it’s a winning idea: lock a bunch of musical fans inside a slice of prime West End real estate (in our case, the shabby-glam cocoon of Cafe de Paris), ply them with prosecco and mini-burgers, then let the games begin. In reality, it’s actually *much* better.
Personally, I like to take a bottomless brunch at its word and go hard, but even I was impressed by the steely wills of my fellow diners in the face of repeat visits from the fizz-toting waiters. Heavy on the hen-party, it’s a relentlessly up-for-it-crowd. If you like to kick back in a private box before gently warming the vocal chords with some light Sondheim, avoid – this is all about the crowd pleasers.
The show kicks off with the West End Wendys cavorting expertly to a Chicago number, before our excellent compere – who we all recognise from something, but maybe that’s the prosecco – guides us through an expansive musicals Juke-box. The magic carpet ride takes in guest stars (John Pickering fresh from a stint in Joseph, and Koko Basigara, the people’s Princess Jasmine), big hits (Les Mis, Oliver, and the Tina Turner musical all feature) and many, many a sequin. In the performer costume breaks, the audience is actively encouraged to take to the stage, plastic glasses aloft, and participate in the communal merriment.
It’s a charm of a show because it does exactly what it promises, in iconic West End venues and without playing clever. There’s no skimping on (a) the booze, or (b) the showstopping tunes – meaning the £55 initial outlay represents solid value for a fun-loving Wilma’s money.
Reviewed by April Delaney
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