West End Bares Real Talent

Adam Wollerton

Possibly one of the most exciting evenings to hit London’s West End so far this year. West End Bares brought together some of the West End’s top performers who dare to bare all in this burlesque inspired show, all in aid of the Make A Difference (MAD) Theatre Trust.

If you are not aware of the charity already, they do great work in supporting performers with long term illness in theatre including (and not limited to) HIV and Aids. This evening should certainly have raised a decent dollar for the charity as, upon entry, we were offered multiple times the chance to purchase MAD Money. This is essentially when you can exchange your real pounds into notes to tip and reward the dancers at the end of the night in a section called ‘The Rotation’. More on this to come…

As I passed through the line and entered Cafe De Paris in Leicester Square, it suddenly became evident just how much work had gone into creating this evening for us. This year’s theme was ‘All The Fun At The Bare’ – a funfair inspired theme complete with clowns, (including a rather charming and cute lead who greeted the audience first off), bearded ladies, a hall of mirrors themed section, a tunnel of love, and a performance from two West End Stars of a song called ‘Life’s a crazy fun fair!’ which rang around my head for the rest of the evening and still does today.

Brian Conley, comedian, took to the stage as our compère, with other TV and stage stars such as Jane McDonald and Lisa Riley. They set the tone for a show packed with naughtiness and boy, did this cast of West Enders live up to the promise! Over almost two hours, the hottest male and female dancers from your favourite shows performed in a fashion that you have never seen before, leaving everyone in the room with a moment of open mouthed delight.

Each section was choreographed and designed completely separately and yet came together with the utmost smoothness in transition. Occasionally broken, and rightly so, to mention the auctioning of a pair of Jimmy Choos and also West End Show Boxer Shorts designed by the casts of the shows themselves – again all in the aid of MAD Theatre Trust.

Every dance number began with a display of intricate choreography or comical scenario and went on to become naughtier and naughtier as more and more clothes were stripped off leaving little, if anything, to the imagination.

The performances definitely got the audience heated up in the f-AB-ulous flashing of flesh, the enticing erotic dance, and their cheeky winks and smiles. When the time of the evening came for the performers to walk amongst the audience to receive the MAD Money and any other donations, it’s fair to say that there was no holding back! Guys and gals raced to stuff the pants and bras of the performers with as much money as could fit in there!

As I said, although this performance was all for charity, the professionalism and technique in dance was astounding. Even on a smaller stage and in the contrasting intimacy of Cafe De Paris to your standard West End venue, these performers put on a show that would have been able to capture the attention of a much bigger audience.

If there was one criticism, I think a little variety in terms of having more vocal performances would have boosted the occasion, as the initial number that opened the show and the latter ‘Life’s a Funfair’ really got the audience dancing. A burlesque style cabaret would still be something refreshing, and to have West End performers really show off all aspects of their talent, as nothing is held back at West End Bares, would be a welcome addition.

The event by MAD Theatre Trust is now in its third year and I foresee many more to come. The tickets are priced at no more than your average West End show at £45 and £60 and believe me, it is worth it! If you want a night like no other and a chance to rub shoulders with some real West End Wonders, then make sure you follow MAD Theatre Trust (@MADTrust) for their latest news and events.

It’s all for a brilliant cause. If you did happen to miss the show, or even if you were there, make sure you grab yourself a copy of their calendar. Again, all donations go to the charity and you can keep the hottest talent of the West End in your bedroom all year long.

Believe me boys and girls, this is one you do not want to miss next year. London’s West End bares some real talent!

About Adam Wollerton

Adam is a Writer and Director of Off-West End and West End Theatre Productions. He is also the Co-Founder of Curious Tales Theatre Company and is the author of LoveStuck: A New Musical.