The famous West End Eurovision made its return yesterday evening to the Dominion Theatre. Sponsored by the Make A Difference (MAD) Trust, the event gathered the best of the talent of London’s West End in an evening of theatre and Eurovision. The cast of 9 of the best shows in the West End made an effort to poise the celebrity panel, which included BBC’s Eurovision commentator, Graham Norton, former X-factor contestant, Rylan Clark, comedy actress Caroline Quentin and Birds of a Feather’s Leslie Joseph, the cast jury (members each competing act that did not take part in the competition) and the audience, an interesting mix of fans of the contest and people in the theatre industry.
The show was opened by the cast of We Will Rock You doing a rendition of “Show Must Go On”, which got the crowd warmed up and ready for the excitement that the night was sure to bring.
The evening was hosted by Richard Gauntlett, who explained what the whole thing is about. MAD is the theatre industry’s HIV and AIDS counterattack, providing support and prevention services in the UK and Southern Africa, as well as specialist support for industry professionals experiencing hardship due to a chronic health condition.
And then it was down to the competing acts. Each one of them had to come up with a video ident, a sort of postcard, in more Eurovision terms. These idents were meant to test the creativity of each of the casts and the first award of the evening was granted to the most original one. The winner were the members of The Book of Mormon.
Each of the casts of the shows were in charge of selecting a Eurovision entry, staging it, choreographing it and costuming it. And the competition was fierce. Once, as reigning champions, were in charge of opening the show, and from then onwards it was an extravaganza of talent, music, tasteful nudity (as described by Norton himself), dance, theatre and Eurovision.
Once – Making Your Mind Up (UK 1981)
Billy Elliot – Marry Me (Finland 2013)
Wicked – Jan Jan (Armenia 2009)
Phantom Of The Opera – Congratulations (UK 1968)
The Bodyguard – Disco Tango (Denmark 1979)
The Book Of Mormon – Ding-a-Dong (The Netherlands 1975)
The Commitments – Rock ‘n’ Roll Kids (Ireland 1994)
Mamma Mia – Waterloo (Sweden 1974)
Les Misérables – Flying The Flag (UK 2007)
After each of the performances, and as an interval act, Sonia, the UK representative in 1993, made an appearance performing her 1989 debut single “You’ll Never Stop Me From Loving You” and her Eurovision entry “Better The Devil You Know”.
The celebrity panel was in charge of granting the creativity award. This went to Mamma Mia.
And then it was time for the voting. It all started as a three-act race with Mamma Mia, Les Mis and The Book of Mormon taking an early lead. As the vote progressed the latter was left behind and, exciting as only a Eurovision voting can be, it was down to the last vote to determine the winner. The audience cheered when, as the last vote was revealed, it was discovered that there was a tie! Mamma Mia and Les Mis had both ended with the same amount of points. It was declared, in a very 1969 fashion, that both entries would be considered winners, and so that was the end for the night. Well, at least for the well-behaved, as there was an after-party that promised to go into the wee hours of the day.
After seven years running, it was announced that 2014 was the last edition of West End Eurovision. It was been seven fabulous years of providing entertainment, raising funds and creating awareness. And for that, we should all thank MAD.