Located in the heart of London’s West End, Café de Paris has often been used to host events connected to the theatre industry. The intimate London nightclub has been on Coventry Street for nearly 90 years now. It first opened in 1924 and has survived much over the years, including a WWII bombing in 1941 which caused devastating damage and resulted in at least 34 fatalities. Having welcomed such renowned names as Frank Sinatra, Grace Kelly and Noel Coward on to its stage in the past, the venue is still a popular choice for many stage stars and cabaret performances and has been visited by a variety of current-day theatre stars, such as cabaret artist Sarah-Louise Young. I’ve been there myself on several occasions: musical theatre star and recording artist Ramin Karimloo showcased some of the tracks from his upcoming album at the launch event in January 2012 and the West End charity MADTrust has staged the annual fundraiser event West End Bares there since its debut in 2010.
This week, another charity organisation is turning to Café de Paris for hosting duties as charity and theatre once again team up for a good cause. Friendship Works is returning to the venue on Sunday 24th November 2013 for their annual Gala Show and Dinner, An Evening with the Stars. The event is a fundraising night in which guests can enjoy a specially-prepared dinner and choose from a selection of once-in-a-lifetime experience in the auction straight after, both of which follow exclusive performances from a line-up of special guest stars.
This year’s show is produced by acclaimed stage and screen actor Jonathan Pryce CBE, who is a Patron for the Friendship Works charity. The Welsh star has featured in a number of hit films, such as Pirates of the Caribbean, Evita and Tomorrow Never Dies, and is just as famed for his stage roles. He has won numerous theatre awards during the course of his career, most notably earning both an Olivier and Tony Award for his role as The Engineer in Miss Saigon. He was most recently seen at the Almeida Theatre playing the title role in the well-received production of King Lear in 2012. Pryce will be performing ‘Don’t Get Around Much Anymore’ and ‘I Don’t Wanna Set The World On Fire’ by The Ink Spots for An Evening with the Stars, and he has gathered together a star-studded cast to join him in performing on the night.
Tom Hiddleston, most commonly known to movie fans as Loki, the silver-tongued God of Mischief who stars alongside Chris Hemsworth as his brother in both of Marvel’s Thor films, will be making a special appearance for the show. As well as his other film roles in War Horse, Midnight in Paris and The Deep Blue Sea, he is also well known in theatre circles for his stage roles in such productions as Othello and Ivanov at the Donmar Warehouse, which he will be returning to next month to lead the venue’s upcoming version of Coriolanus. Hiddleston will be appearing in the title role from 6th December 2013 through to 8th February 2013, but before then he will be at Café de Paris for a very different kind of performance. His impromptu rendition of ‘The Bare Necessities’ from The Jungle Book at Disney’s D23 event in August 2013 has been viewed by thousands of YouTube fans, and he will be treating the An Evening with the Stars audience to a repeat performance on Sunday.
Also joining Pryce for the show will be Damian Lewis, Janie Dee and Celia Imrie. Homeland star Damian Lewis will be singing ‘on the Road To Morocco’, while both Janie Dee and Celia Imrie will be performing songs from their respective cabaret acts. Janie Dee is an award-winning actress who, in addition to having featured in such big screen productions as Me and Orson Wells, has a wealth of experience performing on the stage; she won awards for her roles as Jacie Triplethree in Comic Potential (Lyric Theatre) and Carrie Pipperidge in Carousel (National Theatre). Celia Imrie has also achieved dizzying heights of success in her career, starring in a wide assortment of films (Inc. Nanny McPhee, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Calendar Girls and St. Trinian’s) and theatre productions (Plague Over England, Mixed Up North, The Rivals and Acorn Antiques: The Musical), as well as her collaboration with comedienne Victoria Wood on television programmes Dinnerladies and Victoria Wood As Seen On TV.
Friendship Works is a charity organisation which supports local children and young people who are having problems growing up in their home and social environment and need the extra friendship and support of a mentor in their lives. With around 70 children still waiting to be matched with a mentor, the funds raised from An Evening with the Stars will help them do just that. The London-based charity, which currently reaches over 150 children and young people aged between 5 and 16 across three boroughs, has been shortlisted for the Guardian Charity Awards 2013.
Jonathan Pryce was involved in a similar An Evening with the Stars event earlier in the year. He appeared with Jeremy Irons, Richard Stilgoe, Jon Snow and Hattie Morahan, as well as event organiser and Friendship Works Patron Tim Pigott-Smith, on Sunday 3rd March 2013 to entertain the guest at the charity Springtime fundraiser.
Charity and theatre have proven time and again that they are a combination which goes well together. On Sunday 23rd November, stars of the theatre industry and the Friendship Works charity are pairing up with the added element of the renowned Café de Paris to create something very special and do their bit to make this world a better place. An Evening with the Stars offers more than just a memorable night of high quality entertainment and dining; it offers the chance to improve the lives of some of the children and young people who desperately need something to change.
By Julie Robinson (@missjulie25)
Tuesday 19th November 2013