Putting on the Glitz! London Theatre Direct's 18th Birthday Charity Gala at Cafe de Paris
| By James Astles
The stars came out to shine in full force for London Theatre Direct's lavish Birthday party at Cafe de Paris on Thursday 3rd August to mark the company's 18th birthday. London Theatre Direct threw the glittering event both as a celebration and also a thank you to their extended West End family. The star-studded charity gala event was held in conjunction with the Make A Difference Trust, which raises money to fight HIV and AIDS in the UK and sub-Saharan Africa.
West End leading ladies Claire Sweeney, Brenda Edwards and Jodie Prenger were all dressed to the nines and rubbed shoulders with perky Strictly newcomers AJ Pritchard, Chloe Hewitt and Dianne Buswell. Sandra Dickinson and Matthew Scott hotfooted over from The Arts Theatre when the curtain came down on I Loved Lucy, as did the cast of Dreamgirls from the Savoy.
Allo Allo's timeless beauty Vicki Michelle, singer Nathan Sykes, ex Eastender Maisie Smith, S Club 7's Paul Cattermole and A Place In The Sun's Scarlette Douglas all rocked the red carpet and posed for the paps before enjoying the evening's entertainment. Cheeky compere Jamie Harrison kept the four hundred plus Theatreland guests in check and seamlessly introduced a back to back line up of performances as the evening progressed. The entertainment opened with the winner of LTD's "Fancy Being A Star?" contest who got the chance to perform in front of a room of eagle-eyed industry bigwigs. Surprisingly nerve-free, Emeline Phinney raised the roof with a pitch perfect performance of The Wizard And I from Wicked.
90s pop legend Kavana had everyone busting a move during his set which included his self-proclaimed albatross but party favourite I Can Make You Feel Good and X Factor's Chloe Paige's rendition of I Will Survive was even more knockout than her stunning floor-length white dress. West End favourite Caroline Sheen marked the company's landmark eighteen years with tracks from both 1999 and present day before the guests were treated to a preview from the super talented cast of the upcoming revival of Five Guys Named Moe. Eye-catching popstars Blonde Electra then powered through four of their tracks including shimmering new single Let's Touch.
Not wanting to miss the fun, a number of West End performers left their own stages only to perform again for the auspicious event. At midnight the heat was turned up with a sizzling performance from West End Bares who gave us a sneak peek of their upcoming show, Wizard Of Oz-themed Ruby Strippers, before the fabulous ladies of MAD Drag built the crowd into a frenzy and gave them a thirst for All T, No Shade! which hits Cafe de Paris on 27th August.
A confetti explosion then marked the end of the acts - but not the night - as the remaining guests with the most stamina then danced the night away into the wee small hours with a thumping DJ set.
Ladies and gentlemen, what a night! Cheers to 18 Years!