The hit comedy musical show Jest End, exploring and ‘exposing’ the hits, flops and gossip of Theatreland has returned for a two week season at the Waterloo East Theatre. Similar to the Broadway show Forbidden Broadway (which had a short run in the West End last year), it parodies and pokes fun at some of the biggest shows in town.
Old classic songs from previous years including Rely On Me The Lead (a parody of Defying Gravity which has been updated to reference Louise Dearman and Rachel Tucker), No More Jazz (All That Jazz from Chicago) and I’m So Old / One More Year (On My Own / One More Day from Les Mis) were mixed in with new parodies of shows like Memphis, Gypsy, Funny Girl, Mary Poppins and Bend It Like Beckahm.
With a cast of four well loved West End performers, they take on all the roles, showing their acting versatility. Simon Bailey provides the best comedy for the boys including Jest End Of Rebellion (from Matilda), Stare (from Les Mis) and a nifty little costume in Superchore (Mary Poppins) whilst Scott Garnham gives the best vocal performance throughout the show with My Fans Believe In Me (from Memphis, which pokes fun at Killian Donnelly) and I Am Barrowman (La Cage). Lizzy Connolly gives a great comedy performances as Glinda from Wicked and Christine from Phantom of the Opera, as well as a short but hilarious number from The Little Mermaid. Stealing the show though is Jodie Jacobs who excels in every aspect of comedy, singing and performance with brilliant impersonations of Billy Elliot, Rachel Tucker and Cassidy Janson who soon starts her role as Carole King in Beautiful.
Choreography by Rebecca Howell is brilliant and the cast all show their talent in the complex routines during Mary Poppins and Billy Elliot.
The show, which last played at the Leicester Square Theatre in 2012 is a hit with the theatre crowd, with many jokes that you would only understand if you are heavily involved in theatre. Because of this, it is odd that the show has taken a home in a venue outside of the West End and also that there are no late night performances to give theatre performers an opportunity to see the show.
If you’re a big theatre fan, or just fancy a fun night out, Jest End will certainly amuse. I am already pining to return for a second visit during its two week run and hope it will be back in town for another helping very soon.
Reviewed by West End Wilma
Photos: West End Wilma
Jest End is playing at the Waterloo East Theatre until 6 December 2015 www.waterlooeast.co.uk