Groups Direct has begun its 2018 run of Matinee Shows at the London Cabaret Club in Bloomsbury. GLT went along to the first showing to see why the experience is proving so popular with group bookings.
A standing ovation speaks volumes. When everyone’s on their feet and cheering and whistling at the end of a show, it tells you that the performance in question has hit just the right spot for those watching it.
So from the standing ovation alone, it was obvious that the first of the 2018 run of The Matinee Shows from Groups Direct was a great success. On leaving, you could hear the audible humming of audience members, still captivated by the songs just heard, and buzzing with the elation you might feel upon leaving a fantastic West End show.
About the shows
The Matinee Shows are a string of performances by West End stars and tribute acts ranging from ABBA and Frank Sinatra to Dolly Parton and Freddie Mercury. The choice of performances available is a success in itself; there’s certainly plenty of variety to suit groups with diverse musical tastes.
The two-act show that I went to see was called Masters of the Musicals and was made up of four male performers who ran through a range of songs from the musicals, from the West End to Broadway to film. Particular highlights were a Jersey Boys medley which had the audience clapping along; a harmonious rendition of Michael Jackson’s Man in the Mirror; and a sing-a-long version of Singin’ In The Rain.
I imagine the immersive experience, where the audience are encouraged to join in and sing their hearts out, will be reflected across the whole run of shows. The London Cabaret Club, the venue for the Matinee Shows, is complete with a centre stage, the audience seated on all four sides, so there’s more of an informal feel compared to a traditional theatre show. The Club is located in the ballroom of Victoria House, a Grade II-listed neoclassical building, and is full to the brim with examples of Art Deco architecture, making the experience even more appealing.
The biggest highlight is really the make-up of the overall experience. It’s not just a show – it’s a bespoke entertainment package that provides groups with a welcome drink upon arrival, a three-course meal, and two acts of entertainment, all in one place over the course of a few hours. There’s even a little surprise performance at the beginning of each show – but I won’t give too much away.
Not only is it an easy and enjoyable experience for groups of all ages and abilities, it offers an enjoyable alternative to a West End show, especially because of the drinks and dinner included in the overall ticket price.
The Matinee Shows have been created and produced by Groups Direct in association with James R Hearn, and it’s very clear that a great deal of care and consideration has gone into creating the experiences – from choosing the tribute performers to choosing the food and drinks. Our group enjoyed vegetable soup, fish and chips, and apple crumble with ice cream.
And the best thing? The packages are exclusively for groups, so GTOs considering booking to see a Matinee Show can be assured that parties of all sizes are well catered for. The Matinee Shows are guaranteed to please your whole party, I’ll hedge my bets on that.
Selected Matinee Show dates coming up:
Frankie Valli: 8th February
Elvis Presley: 20th February
Neil Diamond: 8th March
Freddie Mercury: 19th April
Tom Jones: 3rd May
Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers: 28th June
Cliff Richard: 19th July
ABBA: 26th July
More dates are available and can be found here.
For further information or to make a booking at one of the upcoming Matinee Shows, call Groups Direct on 0800 049 8309 or visit www.groupsdirect.co.uk.
Reviewer: Rachel Bailey