Tag Archives: Make a Difference Trust

West End Eurovision 2018 – 4 Stars


West End Eurovision 2018

Shaftesbury Theatre

Reviewed – 22nd April 2018


“Fabulous and hilarious”


The countdown is on to the sixty-third annual Eurovision Song Contest in Lisbon, and although less than a month away it still seems a little premature to find a crowd of flag wielding and sequinned celebrants spilling onto the pavements outside the Shaftesbury Theatre. But on closer inspection, they are gathered for “West End Eurovision”, the spectacular charity production with its welcome return after a three-year absence.

Established in 2008, West End Eurovision is one of the core fundraising events produced by TheatreMAD (the ‘Make A Difference Trust’). It sees West End shows competing against each other singing original Eurovision songs, hoping to win the votes of the audience and their fellow competitors, and the approval of a panel of celebrity judges. But unlike the real shebang, the competitive spirit is absent – everybody is in it together to have a good time. And the real winners are the audience.

All-rounder Richard Gauntlett leads the proceedings, a man totally at home on the stage delivering in-jokes with the ability to mock and congratulate ‘showbiz’ both at the same time. To be a target of his satire is considered an honour. His banter is matched by the three judges: comedian, writer and actor Tom Allen, West End and TV star John Partridge and showbiz legend Arlene Phillips. But let’s cut to the chase – the reason we’re all here – which is the high-camp razzamatazz of each act’s performance. Selected cast from eight current West End Musicals give their own unique interpretation of a past Eurovision entry song.

The cast of “Hamilton” kick off the evening with a driven, streetwise rap version of ‘Cliché Love Song’. Next up is “Young Frankenstein” with ‘Take Me To Your Heaven’. “42nd Street” start off with a conventional ‘Boom Bang A Bang’ before Lulu interrupted and they switched into a roof raising rendition, culminating in Lulu’s trademark wail intro for ‘Shout’. The energy doesn’t drop throughout the night and with the “Kinky Boots” kick-ass rendition of ‘Warrior’ the roof began to look in danger of, literally, being brought down. After interval “Dreamgirls” superbly sent up Bucks Fizz with a parody of the original ‘Making Your Mind Up’, before hurling themselves into their own version of the song with as many tempo changes as harmonies. “Mamma Mia” performed ‘Undo’ and “Aladdin” fittingly closed the running order with the aptly titled ‘Drama Queen’.

And the winner is … (being a one night only event this is obviously not a spoiler) “Phantom Of The Opera” with a dramatic ‘Rise Like A Phoenix”. Fabulous and hilarious, Conchita would have adored this performance, complete with fake beards of varying, comic unshavenness (yes, that is a word). For me, it was a close run between them and “Dreamgirls”, but “Phantom” deserve the trophy. And the cherry on the cake is to have the award presented by Graham Norton.

With guest appearances from SuRie, our Eurovision representative this year in Lisbon, performing ‘Storm’, followed by Lucie Jones singing last year’s entry ‘Never Give Up on You’, this was a high energy show from which you do leave on a high. But we are not allowed, and quite rightly so, to ignore the serious side. TheatreMAD: the Make A Difference Trust raises funds for HIV and AIDS projects that build awareness and provide care, support and education in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa. Long may this annual event continue, and long may the Trust fly the flag for this totally mad night.


Reviewed by Jonathan Evans

Photography by Darren Bell


West End Eurovision 2018

Shaftesbury Theatre



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West End Bares 2017

After last year’s two sold-out shows, WEST END BARES, theatre’s hottest annual fundraiser, is returning on Sunday 29 October 2017 to The Novello Theatre at 7pm and 9.30pm in aid of the Make A Difference Trust.

Tickets are now on sale with an Early Bird offer of 20% off the top three ticket prices available for one week only, until Sunday 21 May.

This year’s theme and celebrity guests will be announced in the summer. Previous celebrity supporters have included Eddie Izzard, Dame Judi Dench, Michelle Visage, Samantha Bond, Graham Norton, John Barrowman, Ramin Karimloo, Bianca Del Rio, Joe Lycett and Beverley Knight.

The event is based on the original concept ‘Broadway Bares’ by legendary Broadway and West End director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids.


Tickets for WEST END BARES are on sale from Monday 15 May at 2.00pm and are priced at £15 – £100. Early Bird tickets are available from Monday 15 May to Sunday 21 May with 20% off the top three ticket prices.


Tickets are available from :


or via the booking line 0844 482 5172 or direct from the Novello Theatre Box Office

Booking fees apply and calls to Delfont Mackintosh Theatres 0844 numbers cost 7 pence per minute plus your phone company’s access charge.


West End Bares are proud to be partnering with 100 Wardour St for this year’s exclusive After Party where you can continue to celebrate with the cast of the show. Tickets cost £10 and are only available when you buy a ticket for the 7pm or 9.30pm show. Once again, there is limited availability for the After Party and when the tickets are gone, they’re gone – so don’t miss out!


100 Wardour St is split between a laid-back Bar & Lounge and chic Restaurant & Club, offering great food from midday right through until 2am with classic and contemporary cocktails. As befits the venues history as the site of London’s iconic Marquee Club where artists like David Bowie and The Rolling Stones performed, there are DJ’s and live music five nights a week.

The Make A Difference Trust is a UK based charity with a vision of a world free from HIV and AIDS. Building on the legacy of 25 years of fundraising by the Theatre industry, they continue to make the vision a reality having distributed over £1.6million in grants to support individuals experiencing hardship across the UK as well as over £1million to support projects with their UK and international partners. For further information about the Make A Difference Trust please visit





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