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Published by: Kirstie Niland on 10th Aug 2017 | View all blogs by Kirstie Niland

Sunday 6th August, West End Proms, Lytham Festival, Lancashire

Singing along to Jerusalem in the middle of a downpour, picnic hampers out, Prosecco in hand - where else except Lytham Festival’s West End Proms. With a host of musical theatre stars lined up for the finale of another week of excellence from Cuffe & Taylor there was no way a bit of rain was getting in the way of a celebration for Brits Up North.

BBC Radio Lancashire’s Sally Naden put her plastic poncho on over her party dress and stilettos and kept everyone’s chin up with a chat while we waited for it all to begin. The audience covered up in an array of hoods, hats and even a survival bag. The West End Proms Childrens’ Chorus opened the event with a welcome sunny and polished performance of Food Glorious Food, and Blackpool's own Jodie Prenger gave us a flash of her wellies under her ball gown and some characterful numbers including As Long As He Needs Me.

There’s no doubt there was less arm-waving than you’d expect for You’ll Never Walk Alone, even though English National Opera soprano Jo Appleby sang it beautifully. 

The charming Britain's Got Talent winning band Collabro livened things up with Let It Go and also impressed with a fantastic staging of This Is The Moment from Jekyll & Hyde.

Having never seen Marti Pellow in a musical theatre setting before Summertime proved a nice surprise, meanwhile Claire Sweeney provided oomph and entertainment with Hey Big Spender.

Young Britain’s Got Talent finalist, 13-year-year-old Beau Dermott, cut a tiny figure with a big voice on the grand Lytham Festival stage alongside the 60-piece Heart of England Philharmonic Orchestra.

The West End Proms Children’s Chorus made another appearance to accompany Jon Lee singing Joseph’s Close Every Door, and the ex-S Club 7 singer also performed a sweet duet of Sixteen Going on Seventeen with local lass and rising West End star Lucie Mae Sumner.

The highlight of the evening was clearly Lea Solanga who brought Broadway magic and the captivating stage presence which has won her awards as Kim in Miss Saigon and Fantine in Les Misérables. Singing a variety of the numbers she has made her own, including I’d Give My Life for You, she gave a heartfelt speech to the audience – and recommended the current Miss Saigon tour at Birmingham Hippodrome which is receiving sensational reviews.  

Ruthie Henshall showed her incredible versatility with a powerful delivery of Sunset Boulevard’s As If We Never Said Goodbye before joining the other female leads and ensemble as a jailbird for a spirited performance of Chicago’s Cell Block Tango.

The spectacle of Phantom of the Opera brought plenty of drama to the proceedings, with Jo Appleby’s soaring soprano the perfect match for Luke McCall’s dramatic tenor.

It was well and truly worth getting soaked for the part I was waiting for – a selection of songs from Les Misérables, including Collabro's fabulous alternative to Javert’s solo song Stars and Lea Salonga’s poignant rendition of Eponine’s On My Own.

No proms should finish without fireworks and a patriotic song and we were treated to two cracking displays as we all sang along to Land Of Hope and Glory. But this was still not the end - the climax was a full cast performance of the magnificent One Day More.

Cuffe & Taylor, the singing stars of West End Proms and the hardy audience - we salute you.

Save the date for Lytham Festival 2018 which has been brought forward to July 23 to 29 to avoid clashing with the Ricoh Women’s British Golf Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club.

Photos: Lytham Festival



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