West End at the Movies

"A bigger, brighter, brasher, bombshell of a show"  Herald Express ***** by Paul Levie

Summer’s finally here – and the sun came up on the stage of the Babbacombe Theatre with another superb hit show, West End at the Movies.

Producer Director Colin Matthews took the bold step of following last year’s blockbuster Legends of the West End with another musical offering, featuring songs from great movies that were also great stage shows.

And in paid off in spades with a bigger, brighter, brasher, bombshell of a show with a cracking cast and no less than 32 songs from 1927 right up to the present day.

Personal favourites of mine were from the Wizard of Oz, School of Rock, Fiddler on the Roof and Chicago.  But there were also great full-cast extravaganzas from Book of Mormon, Phantom of the Opera and of course the greatest of them all, Les Miserables.

Matthews’ tried and tested formula of putting together 10 talented performers in solos, duos, trios and more – adding in loads of energy, great dancing and a large sprinkling of comedy, is a sure-fire winner. 

Every single one of them was a headline in themselves with no one trying to steal the limelight from their pals.

It was great to welcome back the versatile talents of Andy Oakley, one of the funniest men in Torbay who has been starring at the Babbacombe Theatre for nearly two decades.  His tribute to Danny Kaye was worth the entrance money on its own.

Home-grown superstar Lily Laight put in another show-stopping performance, having literally grown up in front of Babbacombe audiences since she could first belt out of number.

Her fans will note a much more mature – dare one say it, sexier – performance from the 16 year old.

The singing talents of Sami Jane Slater, Lisa T Jordan, Debbie Farrell and debutant Jodie Cooper were matched by the rich tones of Barry Elmer, Luke Sampson, Wayne Martin and Darren Lake.

Not a bum note between them and a rich mix of talent which made the evening fly by.

The audience showed their appreciation with a rapturous standing ovation at the end, and the show left us with a warm feel-good glow that made every one of us forget the damp, cold winter. Roll on summer and rock on Babbacombe!

"Light-hearted show will have you smiling" Mid- Devon Advertiser by Rose Howes

The warmer weather signals the start of another annual  show at Babbacombe Theatre, Torquay, which says hello to some of last year’s old friends and makes some new ones for 2018.

This year's offering – West End at the Movies – features productions that have also been films and included some of the best known and much-loved songs that the West End has to offer.

Included are numbers from Evita, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Sweet Charity, Hairspray, The Wizard of Oz and many more. 

There are two acts in particular that stick in my mind – The Spell Block Tango, Babbacombe’s very own spin on The Cell Block Tango from Chicago, and Love is in the Air, from Strictly Ballroom.

Watch Barry Elmer – he throws himself into the number 100 per cent. 

It’s obvious watching the whole cast throughout the evening that they are all enjoying themselves.

I asked my mum for a quote and she could only say one word – "Wow!"

If you're looking for something entertaining and light-hearted that will have you smiling then West End at the Movies is the one for you. 

"Don't Miss this" The English Riviera Magazine by Julian Rees

However, did the Babbacombe team manage to fit 31 show-stopping numbers into one performance?

With a massively talented team of singers all pulled together by comedy frontman and versatile vocalist Andy Oakley, that’s how!

From Showboat that opened on Broadway in 1927 to School of Rock that made its stage debut in 2016, West End at The Movies spans generations and has something for everyone. Babbacombe regular Wayne Martin was brilliant as ever, newcomer Debbie Farrell’s Shirley Bassey was truly uncanny and as for teenager Lily Laight - see her now, as she is surely destined for the big time very soon! If you love musicals, then don’t miss this.

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