June 26, 2009

West End Live 2009 by Pip Maclean

June 26th, 2009
West End Live slide show photos by Sarah Churchfield & Pip Maclean


West End Live 2009 is an annual, unique theatre event that brings a selection of top productions out into the open, live in Leicester Square. And the best news is … it is absolutely FREE!!!!

This year saw acts from all the big West End shows including Hairspray, Wicked, Dirty Dancing, Chicago, Stomp and La Cage aux Folles to name but a few … oh and I almost forgot – JERSEY BOYS!!!

“The Lads” – Ryan Molloy, Stephen Ashfield, Glenn Carter and Mark Isherwood (Philip Bulcock was away on Holiday) did a 20-minute set on each day to an appreciative and screaming audience of JB-ites. The weather unusually for Britain was kind and there was a fabulous turnout on both days. We were fortunate enough to be at the front of the queue early enough on the Sunday morning that when the gates opened, my friends and I were able to stand right at the front of the stage. I didn’t even feel guilty about the fact that I was standing in front of a large group of children who had no view at all from behind me! Still, Jersey Boys isn’t appropriate for children under 12 … is it!

Where we were stood was front stage left … so great for taking pictures without strange hands and heads floating in and out of the viewfinder! I am sure that if the cast spotted us they must have thought … ‘can we never get away from these people?’ – as we had, as a group, been in the front row for the Friday evening and Saturday matinee shows.

Ryan Molloy (Frankie Valli) came on set solo and performed a brilliant rendition of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” … then he introduced his “three favourite guys in the world” – Stephen Ashfield (Bob Gaudio), Glenn Carter (Tommy DeVito) and Mark Isherwood (Nick Massi) who sang the medley of “Sherry”, “Walk Like A Man” – including the “double clicks” and “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and… concluded with an excellent version of “Bye Bye Baby”… They were all dressed in the grey suits that they wear for the finale.

They then moved on to the most awesome version of “Beggin’” that I have ever heard … the point in the show at which this is sung I find is always the most pivotal moment as it illustrates the total breakdown of the group and the strength of Gaudio really comes through but to hear Ryan sing it using a different style was A-MAZE-ING!!!!!!

The final segment concluded with the dearly loved “Bunny on TV” speech during which Ryan chose to stop and breathe very heavily, suggesting he had forgotten the speech … he wandered back to Stephen and said “what happens next” … the man is a legend! Then of course the whole Ensemble came on stage for “Who Loves You” and “Oh What A Night” … in fact, for the first time ever, I saw all 3 “Frankies” on stage at the same time.. Lead, Alternate (Scott Monello) and Understudy (Jye Frasca). All we really needed was the “V-Man” himself to turn up!!!!

The best bit of the whole thing was seeing the guys appearing to be really enjoying themselves. Glenn and Mark in particular really got into the groove with “Beggin’”! It was also great for the regular Jersey Boys fans to be able to sing along, scream, yell, dance etc. which obviously is not acceptable behaviour when at the Prince Edward Theatre. Until curtain of course!!!!

I think if the crowd on the Sunday could have had them on stage all afternoon, they would never have let them leave.

Feedback from friends who went on the Saturday was equally as enthusiastic. Ryan did the “working the audience” by asking “Who’s seen the Jersey Boys?” to which there was a deafening scream then he asked “Who hasn’t see the Jersey Boys?” to which, naturally, there was a lot of booing.

Talking to a lady on the Sunday who had also been on the Saturday, she confirmed that the had been the best set which is why she had come back to West End Live to see them again. She hadn’t planned to go to the show but she was really keen to see it in all its glory… see, all you need is a 20-minute set to catch the bug … but be warned, addiction can follow (she says knowingly!)

Cheers Pip for sharing your FABULOUS West End Live experience! Love all the details…makes us all feel like we were there!


  1. this is fantastic pip thanx

    Comment by lynne — June 26, 2009 @ 12:19 pm

  2. Pip, this is genious and i agree Beggin was the best its ever been, i do hope Ryan sings that verision on his album, everyone will have their hairs on the back of their necks rising!
    Saturday was amazing, wish i could have been there on Sunday and i have to admit, it was the Jersey Boys that really got the crowd going. Oh and do be careful, it truly is addictive!

    Nice one Pip!


    Comment by Rebecca Sherrington — June 26, 2009 @ 12:39 pm

  3. Hi Pip,

    I was there on Saturday and Sunday – Sunday was definitely the best day, but they were brilliant on both days. I think your report is great. The photos are great too.

    Thank you for sharing your photos and your report.

    Comment by Lee — June 26, 2009 @ 12:40 pm

  4. Hi, Pip,

    Thanks for sharing your fab pics! Fantastic report which sums up the whole experience perfectly!

    Comment by Annie — June 26, 2009 @ 12:51 pm

  5. Hey Pip,

    Much thanks for getting this done quick-style. Your first had coverage is so appreciated. Your pix along with Churchers are really fab…look very professional.

    Ryan has some great close up vids on his channel…

    Comment by Charly O'Clarit — June 26, 2009 @ 3:46 pm

  6. Helloooo Pip!
    Thankyou sooooo much for these amazing pics!!!
    There absolutely brilliant!
    I agree with you Bex Beggin was AMAZING!! And i do hope it will be that way on Ryan’s album!

    Thanks Pip :D

    x x x x

    Comment by Emma Grimes — June 27, 2009 @ 5:40 am

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