The 6th annual West End Bares, entitled Take Off!, flew into town this past weekend (Sunday 20th September) in a whirl of glitter and glistening nudity, and fans will be thrilled to know that it was a soaring success! Arguably their most popular event, The Make A Difference Trust gave audiences at this year’s show celebrity entertainers in the form of Bianca Del Rio, Robin Windsor, Beverly Knight and more, Graham Norton as a host, and of course, flesh-flashing performances from cast of gorgeously glam dancers from some of the hottest West End musicals.
West End Bares is the gift that keeps on giving, and aside from the obvious points of interest, one of the best parts of it is that it raises thousands for The Make A Difference Trust. The sexiest night of the year may have been rewrapped and put away for next September, but there are still just over three months left in 2015 and fundraising efforts for the charity are far from over.
Over the course of the summer, a selection of the top West End shows have been taking part in cabaret performances at the Delfont Room to entertain and raise money for MADTrust. Presented by TheatreMAD, a branch of the charity, the Late Night Cabaret Season has so far seen the West End companies of The Phantom of the Opera, The Book of Mormon and Miss Saigon organise and perform cabarets in the downstairs venue of the Prince of Wales Theatre, all of which have gone over exceedingly well and been extremely beneficial to the cause. Summer may have given way to autumn, but the cabaret season is still here and continues this week…
The fourth cabaret of the season stars the cast of one of the best-loved shows in the West End, a multi award-winning jukebox musical which has been entertaining audiences here since 1999 and gone on to spawn numerous international productions and even a Hollywood film adaption. It is of course, the show based on the music of ABBA: Mamma Mia! Following the evening performance on Thursday 24th September, members of the London company will be heading to the Delfont Room for a second, very different, performance, in a 90-minute set entitled Thank You For The Music. It’s rather an apt title for a Mamma Mia! cabaret staged in the 40th anniversary year of the ABBA single, Mamma Mia!, which was released in 1975.
The show’s leading ladies, Dianne Pilkington (Donna Sheridan) and Gabriella Williams (Sophie Sheridan), are among the cast members set to take part in the one-night-only event celebrating the music of ABBA. They’ll be performing some of the band’s lesser-known songs, along with an assortment of musical theatre hits from such Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus’ shows as Chess and Kristina, as well as some of the band members’ other solo work. Supporting the line-up on stage will be a four-piece band that features two members of the original Mamma Mia! band, all under the musical direction of Marcus Savage. It’s set to be a fun-filled night of entertainment where raising ‘Money, Money, Money’ for MadTrust is ‘The Name of the Game’, so if someone asks you if you want to go along, there’s only one answer you can give: ‘I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do’!
Of course, Mamma Mia! isn’t the only West End show planning a cabaret in aid of MADTrust, as Gypsy is bringing the season to an end with the fifth and final cabaret in October. Chichester Festival Theatre’s critically acclaimed production was a sell-out success in its original 2014 run, which resulted in a West End transfer for the musical earlier this year. It opened at the Savoy Theatre on 15th April 2015 (previews from 28th March) with Imelda Staunton reprising the iconic role of Momma Rose, receiving rave reviews and has proving itself one of the shows to see in the West End. There are just ten weeks left before Gypsy closes here in London, but before they go, the cast are preparing for their end-of-season cabaret for MADTrust on Thursday 8th October. They’re asking fans to do just one thing: ‘Let Me Entertain You’. So let them.
The Make A Difference Trust is a West End charity that brings together the theatre industry and its supporters to raise funds for HIV and AIDS Projects that raise awareness and provide care, support and education in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa; as well supporting those in the entertainment industry facing hardship as a result of long term chronic illness.
The MADTrust legacy stretches over twenty five years and they have built a strong and mutually rewarding relationship with the shows of the West End in that time, working side-by-side to do some good in the world through the power of theatre. The Phantom of the Opera, The Book of Mormon and Miss Saigon have all supported the charity with their unique brand of ‘entertaining fundraising’ through participation in the Late Night Cabaret Season, and now it’s the turn of Mamma Mia! and Gypsy. ‘The Winner Takes It All’, and with events like these, everyone’s a winner…especially if MADTrust, the West End and the fans continue to believe in four little words: ’Together, Wherever We Go’.
The Mamma Mia! cabaret, Thank You For The Other Music, takes place at the Delfont Room on Thursday 24th September 2105, 11pm.
Gypsy The Musical in cabaret takes place at the Delfont Room on Thursday 8th October 2015, 11pm.
By Julie Robinson: @missjulie25
Tuesday 22nd September 2015