Review: West End Story @ Lichfield Garrick

Audiences in Lichfield had a glimpse of what could happen if all but one of the theatres in the West End were wiped out.

They witnessed how a director brought together young entertainers for a show aimed at making the capital’s theatre land come to life again.

The story, of course, was fictitious – the show was real.

James Pugh and David Easto devised and directed West End Story, performed by Lichfield Operatic Society. It featured songs from much-loved musicals alongside those perhaps not so well known.

The show opened with a bang with the whole company performing the effervescent Rhythm of Life from Sweet Charity. It ran the whole gamut of musical theatre from West Side Story, through songs from Mary Poppins, Wicked, Avenue Q and many more.

These were interspersed with amusing sketches, which helped to tell the story and made the evening not just another ‘songs from the shows’.

It would be unfair to mention any performer by name as the whole show relied on every principal and chorus member playing their part to the full.

The audience on Friday obviously thoroughly enjoyed this different kind of show from Lichfield Operatic Society.

Must say a word about some of the back stage support – great costumes from Jean Taylor and her team – super lighting design (again!) from Stephen Rainsford and his crew, stage director Oliver Rowe, sound designer Ian Oakland and stage manager Matthew Garfield.

And there were some good dance routines from choreographer Natalie Blackwell and the orchestra was brilliant.

Congratulations to everyone who took part in this light-hearted tribute to musical theatre.

We will all, I’m sure, be flocking for tickets for the company’s next production – Cole Porter’s Anything Goes – next April.



  1. Disgruntled customer

    9th November, 2009 at 11:17 am

    I went to see the show at the Lichfield Garrick and I was very dissapointed with it. The performers were great, fabulous voices, great dancing, wonderful wardrobe, but they were let down by a weak script and lack of storyline. I did not find the sketch interludes funny at all. They slowed the show and made it drag. I was particularly angry that an entire Victoria Wood sketch had been performed verbatim, which I thought showed an example of lazy writing on the playwrights part. I am also upset that the Operatic Society had not noticed that the script and confusing plot were below their usual standard. I feel that they should have stepped in earlier to ask for a re-write, or to cut the script completely.

  2. Unconcerned Citizen

    9th November, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    I saw the show on saturday night – I think ‘Disgruntled Customer’ may be being a little harsh upon the script.
    It wasn’t confusing – a firebomb hits the westend, unemployed luvvies try to get things on the go again, and dastardly corporate property developers try to muscle in on the act. (with a few lovey duvvy subplots).
    Being an absurdist – i felt the script could have been more rediculous thus funnier – but hey – we’ve all got differing tastes – and lets face it – the plot wasn’t as important as the singing and dancing.

    Also – if it’s ok to perform a musical song verbatim – why not a comedy sketch also?

    The performances were certainly the best i have seen of them – they were a million miles from being a chaotic rabble which is not unfair to expect from amateurs.
    They’d give some profesional shows a run for thier money.

  3. Disgruntled customer

    9th November, 2009 at 5:32 pm

    I agree with you Unconcerned Citizen, the performances were excellent and everybody worked very hard. I never said that they were a chaotic rabble, and I sincerely hope you are not thinking that I did! As always, the Lichfield Ops perform as well as any professionals I have seen. I was just dissapointed with the script. I paid my £15 and thats how I felt about the show I’m afraid.