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Lost West End 2
A Unique Collection of Recordings from London's Forgotten Musicals


Music: Various
Lyrics: Various
Performed by: Various
Label: Stage Door
RRP: £7.99
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STAGE 9046
5 055122 190462
Release Date: 29 July 2016

I’ve always been a fan of the undiscovered musical - the shows that didn’t last long, that weren’t widely known, or have had the dreaded "flop" word associated with them. There have been several CD releases over the past decades that have chronicled these musicals, and at least have saved some of the better musical numbers for generations to come to listen to and experience. These albums were almost exclusively Broadway or American creations, until last year, when Stage Door Records released their excellent Lost West End - a collection of recordings from London’s forgotten musicals. So in 2016, I was pleased to hear of the release of Lost West End 2.

Lost West End 2 celebrates London's forgotten musicals and brings together over 20 unique 'lost' West End productions on one album. The collection reflects nearly 40 years of musicals that have come and gone from the West End, showcasing these unique theatrical works. Ranging from 1970 to 2008, all the musicals featured had relatively short London residencies and although they weren't always met with critical praise, they nevertheless contain interesting, memorable scores and performances that deserve to be heard.

The diverse selection of shows featured include the 1977 Cameron Mackintosh produced musical revue After Shave; Fire Angel a rock opera adaptation of Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice; Hair composer Galt MacDermot's Isabel's A Jezebel; and musical biographies of Sir Francis Drake (Drake's Dream), Napoleon Bonaparte (Napoleon), Winston Churchill (Winnie) and James Dean (Dean). The album features a glittering ensemble of West End vocalists including; Hannah Waddingham, Michael Crawford, Colm Wilkinson and Paul Jones.

This is a fun release, which also serves as a historical reminder of the shows that didn’t quite make it. As I think I said in my review of the first volume though, this doesn’t mean that they don’t deserve a re-listen. There are some great numbers here, and some great reminders of some great scores. They aren’t all new to CD however. Quite a chunk of the shows, such as Blondel and Flowers for Algernon already have CD releases, so they are probably less important than some of the other tracks on the album. Much of the CD was new to me however, and I enjoyed the listen, and the accompanying CD booklet.

I found myself liking most of the tracks. My favourite was a little biased, as I have always loved Blondel, and 'The Least Of My Troubles' is one of my favourite tracks from the show. and it was nice to hear the Colm Wilkinson version, which was only previously released on the Performance compilation album in the 1980s. I also loved hearing Hannah Waddingham’s rendition of 'The Man Behind The Mask' from Zorro, and 'Waiting & Hoping' from Napoleon. Plus it was also nice to be reminded of Moby Dick - 'Love Will Always' is a great number. I could have lived without the track from Imagine This however - some shows flop for the right reasons!

All in all, a fitting follow up to the original Lost West End, if not quite as groundbreaking as it was first time around.


Ian Gude

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