Jest End Review

Waterloo East Theatre 24 November – 6 December.  Reviewed by Claire Roderick

Jest End is a brilliantly bitchy and barmy production.

If you love musicals – you’ll love this show.

If you hate musicals – you’ll love this show.

Garry Lake has created a wonderful satirical review of West End favourites. The Jesters – Simon Bailey, Lizzy Connolly, Scott Garnham and Jodie Jacobs are all fantastic performers and seize every opportunity to make the audience, and their fellow cast members, crack up.

Jodie Jacobs’ accents as Billy Elliot and Rachel Tucker are insane, and her audition piece is beautifully observed. Simon Bailey is hysterically disturbing as Miss Trunchbull and Willy Wonka – with golden tickets to the Menier Chocolate Factory. Lizzy Connolly is ridiculously funny as Mary Poppins the choreographer, and her Ariel is a showstopper. Scott Garnham may need to avoid Killian Donnelly for a while, but John Barrowman probably has I am Barrowman as his ringtone now – fantastic mickey taking.

The less glamorous realities of a career in acting are a recurring theme, from Miss Sign On to We get Paid A Pound. Ridiculously high ticket prices, reality TV stars and pretentious choreography are also targeted. Cameron Mackintosh and Andrew Lloyd Webber don’t escape ridicule either, with Garnham revelling in morphing between Macintosh and Fagin in Reviving Old Adaptations, and a critique of Love Never Dies – “not your best”. Tim Minchin gives a lesson in how to write a perfect show, Sheridan Smith would rather be poor, and we finally find out why Made in Dagenham failed.

Les Mis is an easy target, but Jest End uses the casting of the film to great effect. Crowe and Jackman facing off is wonderfully silly, throw in an aging Eponine and Samantha Barks lusting after Jackman and it’s comedy gold.

Full of laughs, and some seriously fine singing, Jest End is a fantastic night out.

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