Joy to the world, the West End sings. Take a bunch of talented West End performers, give them some songs by new writers and what happens? You get a moving Christmas album that hits all the right notes (literally and metaphorically) and raises money for The Make A Difference (MAD) Trust.
Kicking off with the dulcet tones of Killian Donnelly is Felix Hagan’s Together We Can Make It, which wouldn’t be out of place closing Act I of a West End musical. It does sound a bit like a charity single, with too many jingle bells in the background, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing – it at least helps it to sound more festive.
Featuring the cast of Les Misérables, it’s a great choice to open the album and – dare I say it – would have been a much better choice than a third version of Do They Know It’s Christmas? which no longer seems effective.
Stuart Matthew Price lowers the mood somewhat with a slightly depressing ballad entitled This Christmas but The Baking Committee’s I Love Christmas (sung by Chloe Hart) has me giggling and bopping along.
Nadim Naaman’s A Soldier’s Christmas is a haunting melody with background violins, but it’s a beautiful piece, especially when sung by the incredible Gerónimo Rauch who throws so much emotion into his performance and actually gives me goose bumps.
Tim Connor’s The Little Match Girl ends the album and while this sad story may be an unusual choice for a Christmas collection, it’s another thought-provoking song that is perfectly performed by Janie Dee.
Naturally, some of these songs are much stronger than others and it’s far from the happy jollity most of us associate with Christmas. However, the overall effect is sublime and it’s a unique Christmas compilation that West End fans should not miss.
You can download or order a physical copy of the CD here – and remember its all for a great cause!
Reviewed by Michaela Clement-Hayes