Tag Archives: Concert Hall

REVIEW: The Overtones – Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

The Overtones are in Glasgow to have a party, a great big, joyous Christmas party, and while it totally and utterly fulfils this brief, in a year that has been more than challenging for the band, this is a night filled with huge happiness and just a little sadness.

This hasn’t been the easiest year for The Overtones, following the death of lead vocalist Timmy Matley and critical conversations about the future of the band, but from the moment they bound onto the stage to the strains of Womack and Womack’s Teardrops, you are utterly assured that their decision to carry on as a four-piece is the right one.

Occupying a unique niche in the market with their blend of modern Doo Wop, the band truly have wide, multi-generational appeal. Added to their vocal talents, this is a quartet who put their hearts, souls and considerable physical and emotional energies into every performance.

The audience are literally on their feet from the first notes, and the feel-good hits just keep coming: You To Me Are Everything, Runaround Sue, My Girl and Rockin’ Robin particularly fit their vocal harmonies and set the party atmosphere. However, the audience inevitably knows that a remembrance of Matley’s life would come. And so it does in the form of a trio of songs specially chosen to celebrate him: Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow (their last song recorded as a 5-piece), the Spice Girls’ Goodbye and I Say a Little Prayer, the poignancy added to by the sight of Matley’s beaming smile projected behind the band as they sing.

Before the interval, the band manages to ramp the happiness back up, delivering Frankie Valli’s Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.

The festive factor is represented by a clutch of Christmas classics: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Let It Snow and Driving Home For Christmas and there’s a duo of ear-pleasing original songs from the latest album, new single Stand Up and By My Side. But it’s the party tunes that have the sold-out audience dancing in the aisles: Love Really Hurts, Get Ready and Gimme Just a Little More Time, have the joint jumping.

While the loss of Matley’s vocals is of huge consequence, Mike Crawshaw and Lockie Chapman more than step up and are, as always perfectly supported by Darren Everest and Mark Franks. Fans will be delighted to know that the sharp and original choreography is still very much in evidence and beautifully executed.

The band round out the evening of mutual love with the entirely appropriate Love Is In the Air and leave the audience on a high.

The Overtones prove that good, old-fashioned quality will always win out, and if the reaction of this Glasgow crowd is anything to go on, it will continue to do so for many years to come.

REVIEW: The Elixir of Love – The Concert Hall, Motherwell

Scottish Opera’s latest touring production, Gaetano Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love, is a wonderfully witty, beautifully staged and finely sung treasure. An utter joy from start to finish, this is opera for people who think they don’t like opera. Donizetti’s gloriously melodic score is a treat for the ears and Oliver Townsend and Mark Howland’s charming and clever design – re-set from the 19th Century Mediterranean to a country garden in 1920s England, is simply gorgeous.

Humble gardener Nemorino is hopelessly in love with wealthy landowner Adina, but her head (if not her heart) is turned by the flashy Sergeant Belcore. But all is not lost when quack medicine man Dr Dulcamara literally rides into town, selling our hero a powerful love potion that promises to deliver the girl of his dreams into his arms within a day.

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Ellie Laugharne and Elgan Llyr Thomas as Adina and Nemorino in Scottish Opera’s The Elixir of Love Image: Tim Morozzo

This effervescent production bubbles and fizzes throughout, thanks largely to the delightful cast, and as befitting this ‘male Cinderella’ story, it is the boys who dominate. Elgan Llyr Thomas is thoroughly appealing as our love-lorn hero Nemorino and his show-stopping Una furtiva lagrima (one single tear falls silently) is a real crowd-pleaser, but he doesn’t have the limelight solely to himself thanks to scene-stealing turns from Toby Girling as the preposterously pompous Sergeant Belcore and the outstanding James Cleverton as the dodgy Doctor Dulcamara, whose timing, sonorous tones and perfect diction are a masterclass in comic opera acting.

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James Cleverton as Dulcamara Scottish in Opera’s The Elixir of Love Image: Tim Morozzo

Mention must be made of music Derek Clark, who deserves plaudits for trimming Donizetti’s score from 53 instruments to five without losing any of its richness and the brisk baton of conductor Stuart Stratford who drives the score along.

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Ellie Laugharne, Elgan Llyr Thomas and Toby Girling in Scottish Opera’s The Elixir of Love Image: Tim Morozzo

For a work that was written, if not in the two weeks that opera folklore claims, but certainly astonishingly quickly nearly 200 years ago, this sunny, funny, dazzling and delightful work is a five-star, must-see production.

Currently touring Scotland, booking information here: https://www.scottishopera.org.uk/our-operas/16-17/the-elixir-of-love

REVIEW: Parton sings Parton – Motherwell Concert Hall

As one of Country legend and global superstar Dolly Parton’s 11 siblings, singer and actress Stella Parton, like most of her family, has been performing since childhood, and enjoyed chart success in the 70s with a series of singles including Danger of a Stranger and Undercover Lovers, I Want to Hold You in My Dreams Tonight.

In Parton sings Parton: a Sister’s Tribute, Stella Parton presents a night of country music based on the recently released tribute album to her sister, Mountain Songbird.  Punctuated with images from her own personal photograph album, Parton shares her sister’s inspiration for her songs and performs her own chart hits with her five-piece band.

mountain songbird stella parton

Concentrating on the so-called ‘story songs’ that hold personal meaning, it’s undoubtedly her sister’s big hitters that get the best reception, but the younger Parton’s own efforts largely hold their own. A competent singer, (there are some pitch issues at the higher end of her range) she has a good belt that goes down well with the crowd.

This entertaining production is undertaken with her older sister’s blessing, and while some may perceive it as cashing in on her sibling’s success, it comes across as a genuine and heartfelt personal tribute.

Touring the UK throughout spring.

REVIEW: Brendan Cole Licence to Thrill – Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow

Choreographer: Brendan Cole
Musical Director: Barry Robinson
Reviewer: Lauren Humphreys

Originally published by http://www.thepublicreviews.com

45 nights into a 48 date tour of his show Licence to Thrill, Brendan Cole’s energy and enthusiasm for his art is seemingly unwavering. It is testament to Cole’s talent, engaging and generous personality and the first class quality of this show that, right from the outset, Cole had this vocal, notoriously unpredictable and hard to please Glasgow audience firmly in the palm of his hand.

In a fast-paced whirlwind tour of the ballroom world the audience is treated to, among others: the Argentine Tango, Waltz, Quick Step, Samba, Foxtrot and Samba as well as a bit of audience participation in the form of a Q & A session led by amiable musical director Barry Robinson. Accompanying the dance spectacular is a polished twelve-piece orchestra and first-rate singers Julie Maguire and Iain Mackenzie and fellow dancers Crystal Main, Melanie Hooper, Patrick Helm, brother Scott Cole and Strictly Come Dancing favourite Aliona Vilani.

Cole is undoubtedly the star of the show and the reason this giant auditorium is packed, but to his credit he shows great generosity towards his fellow dancers and the musicians, allowing each their moment in the spotlight. There’s a feeling of genuine camaraderie and friendship here which radiates to the audience. Cole’s commitment to deliver a top quality show and genuine care about his fans shines through; constantly scanning the audience, catching their eye, bantering through the links between the numbers, he seems to feed off of the buzz of seeing the reaction of his fans.

It’s camp, it’s cheesy but it’s also a class act. It makes no claims to be high art and the simplicity of the format coupled with the sheer quality of the material delivered makes it infinitely more watchable and enjoyable than the shows of his fellow Strictly professionals. A case in point being Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace’s Midnight Tango a show which feels the need to weave a flimsy narrative around a series of set piece Latin dance routines. The variety and originality of the choreography here is crowd pleasing from start to finish and free from the restrictions placed on him for Strictly.

It’s a chance to see the man behind the “bad boy” TV image and glimpse the infinitely more endearing “real” Brendan Cole. Joyful from start to finish and a masterclass in giving an audience exactly what they want. A real class act.