Tag Archives: Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

REVIEW: Iain Waite & Natalie Lowe: A Touch of Class – Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

Following the familiar format of a bit of dance, a bit of song, a bit of chat, and some audience participation, Strictly Come Dancing alumni Iain Waite and Natalie Lowe sashay into town with their first live show A Touch of Class.

The personable pair glide through a selection of classic ballroom dances, an audience Q & A and some backstage chat about their colleagues on Strictly. The two are gifted dancers and their grace and elegance is a joy to watch, making these undoubtedly difficult routines look effortless.

Waite is a natural showman (as evidenced by his appearances on Strictly It Takes Two) and hogs the mic, relishing the backstage gossip and saucy quips. Lowe is softer than her on-screen persona, an advocate for traditional ballroom, she comes across as genuinely thankful for the opportunities that dance has given her.

The action is punctuated by swing classics from Luke Upton – an intense young man with a fine voice but a rather inflated stage presence and a gimlet stare. Local choir Voice of the Town tackle some pop standards throughout the night to allow for costume changes, but one can’t help get the feeling from the audience reaction that they would rather have had some more dance.

There are no zippy Latin routines here, just good old-fashioned traditional ballroom at his best – as the title suggests – a class act. A bit more dance would have been nice, though. 

REVIEW: Brendan Cole – A Night to To Remember, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

Removed from the constraints of competing in Strictly Come Dancing, Brendan Cole gets the chance to highlight his considerable choreographic and performance skills to a packed house in Glasgow on his Night to Remember tour.

brendan cole night to remember 2

Despite suffering from pneumonia, a visibly pale and thin Cole presents the most spectacular and professional production of any of the Strictly alumni. The programme carefully curated to appeal to a wide audience: the music a mix of old and new and the choreography both modern and classic.

brendan cole night to remember tour

The dancing is interspersed with songs from vocalists Iain MacKenzie and Julie Maguire and there’s the ubiquitous Q & A session where fans get the chance to ask their dance hero some personal questions.


brendan cole devil went down to georgia

To his great credit Cole performs with gusto despite suffering from serious and debilitating illness and his cast, band and singers are of the highest quality. The set and costumes also set Cole’s production head and shoulders above his peers. A class act from start to finish, Cole’s show always delivers.

Images – Visual Devotion


REVIEW: The Bootleg Beatles – Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

As an alternative to the usual Christmas fodder, there’s no better night’s entertainment than the annual Bootleg Beatles show at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. Thirty six years, several line up changes, and the fab four are sounding better than ever.

Keeping it fresh with a new set list and costumes every year, the crowd as ever, went wild on hearing the expertly chosen and played, selection of hits.

You’d be hard pressed to pick a highlight but as the first chords ring out on the earliest hits you can’t help but smile, and the hits just keep on coming, coupled with the accuracy and skill with which they’re played, the night never fails to be anything less than a rousing success. Worth mentioning too is the especially moving show of solidarity with our friends in Paris during All You Need is Love.

You would need to be incredibly hard of heart not to love this – expertly crafted, this is entertainment at its finest.

REVIEW: John Wilson Orchestra – Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

Cole Porter, Rodgers and Hammerstein and the MGM, golden era of Hollywood movie musicals have all been celebrated over the years by the wonderful John Wilson Orchestra. The lost scores recreated note by note and bar by bar by the supremely talented Wilson. This year, the spotlight turns on George and Ira Gershwin.

From a vast back-catalogue of hits, Wilson presents a broad spectrum of the composer’s work; some pieces recognised from the first few notes to some lesser-known gems, and a perfect balance of orchestral pieces and vocal numbers.

The hand-picked orchestra as always, are in the finest of form, getting the evening off to the best of starts with the overture from the 1945 biopic Rhapsody in Blue. Featuring West End leading lady Louise Dearman and John Wilson Orchestra veteran and big band star Matt Ford, there’s not a weak link anywhere. The playful chemistry between Dearman and Ford is a delight to watch and the playing and singing a joy to the ear. Vocal highlights include Dearman’s Someone to Watch Over Me and The Man I Love, and Ford’s S’Wonderful  (with the most spectacular whistling I’ve ever heard) and They Can’t Take That Away From Me.

It seems like a disservice to mention so little of the evening, but quite simply, this is as close to a perfect evening’s entertainment as you are likely to get. Sheer class.

John Wilson’s DVD celebrating the music of Frank Sinatra is on sale now.

FEATURE: A month in the life of Glasgow Theatre Blog

I’ve recently had a few conversations both in person and with fellow theatre bloggers asking what a typical month is in the life of the blog. So with that in mind here is a typical month – this month in fact, a chronological record of the who, what, where and how of June 2015.

Monday 1st June

Theatre Royal, Glasgow

Launch of Ambassadors Theatre Group autumn season for their Glasgow Theatres.


Glasgow’s Theatre Royal

As always from ATG Glasgow, a well thought out overview of the season to come. Compered by Glasgow favourite Des Clarke with guest appearances/performances from among others: Nigel Havers and Christine Kavanagh enacting a scene from The Importance of Being Earnest, the cast of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (silver fox Michael Praed getting the ladies of a certain age swooning with his crooning), some music and dance from Britain’s Got Bhangra, live interviews with Matthew Bourne on the return of Sleeping Beauty and Sally Bankes on East is East, touring fresh from its run in the Trafalgar Transformed season as well as video features from shows such as Love Me Tender and the first live glimpse of this year’s King’s panto cast.

Tuesday 2nd June 

Theatre Royal, Glasgow

Judy – The Songbook of Judy Garland


Ray Quinn and Louise Dearman in Judy – The Songbook of Judy Garland

A surprising turn from Ray Quinn fleet-footed and crooning his way through the songs of Judy Garland – ably helped along by ever-reliable West End leading lady Louise Dearman. Unfortunately the same couldn’t be said for Garland’s daughter Lorna Luft who would have been better served telling anecdotes about her superstar mother rather than strangling her greatest hits.

Review: https://glasgowtheatreblog.com/2015/06/04/review-judy-the-songbook-of-judy-garland-theatre-royal-glasgow/

Wednesday 3rd June

King’s Theatre, Glasgow


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Joe Pasquale as King Arthur in Spamalot

It was Joe Pasquale’s son Joe Tracini who was the star of the show – fantastic comic timing and some seriously groovy moves showed that there’s life and laughs in this old dog yet.

Review: https://glasgowtheatreblog.com/2015/06/06/review-spamalot-kings-theatre-glasgow/

Friday 5th June

City Halls, Glasgow

Friday Night is Music Night

city halls bbc music day

A truly stellar cast lined up to mark the finale of the BBC’s first ever music day,representing the spectrum of music on offer from our national broadcaster: Jamie Cullum, Lulu, Deacon Blue, Noah Stewart, Jack Liebeck, Catrin Finch, Jaz Dhami and Claire Hastings presented a world class evening of entertainment.

Review: https://glasgowtheatreblog.com/2015/06/08/review-friday-night-is-music-night-bbc-music-day-concert-city-halls-glasgow/

Saturday 6th June

Oran Mor, Glasgow

Sunset Boulevard


John Kielty and Juliet Cadzow in Sunset Boulevard

Billy Wilder’s classic movie condensed into a perfect one hour gem. All that and a pie and a pint thrown into the ticket price – what mor could you want?

Review: https://glasgowtheatreblog.com/2015/06/07/review-sunset-boulevard-oran-mor-glasgow/

Tuesday 9th June

King’s Theatre, Glasgow

Puttin’ on the Ritz


Kristina Rihanoff and Robin Windsor – Puttin’ on the Ritz

More a cruise ship review than full-blown theatre show but entertaining none the less.

Review: https://glasgowtheatreblog.com/2015/06/12/review-puttin-on-the-ritz-kings-theatre-glasgow/

Thursday 11th June

Citizens Theatre, Glasgow


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The best of the best of musical theatre students from the Dance School of Scotland give a glimpse at the future stars of Scottish theatre in their flawless production of Stephen Schwartz and John-Michael Tebelak’s hippy classic Godspell.

Review: https://glasgowtheatreblog.com/2015/06/14/review-godspell-citizens-theatre-glasgow/

Friday 12th June

Adelaide’s Glasgow

The Mad Props Big Fat Musical Theatre Quiz and Concert of the Year

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Saturday 13th June

Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

Matthew Bourne’s The Car Man



The master of British dance Matthew Bourne brought his revived classic The Car Man to Edinburgh for one week – and boy what a show – perfect was the only word for it.

Review: https://glasgowtheatreblog.com/2015/06/14/review-matthew-bournes-the-car-man-festival-theatre-edinburgh/

Sunday 14th June

Tron Theatre, Glasgow

The Critics Awards for Theatre in Scotland



The critics decide on the best home-grown theatre talent of the year, also a chance for the critics to get their moment in the spotlight which they grabbed with both hands. This year’s big winner was the Royal Lyceum in Edinburgh.

Full list of winners: https://glasgowtheatreblog.com/2015/06/14/news-2015-cats-awards-winners-a-triumphant-year-for-lyceumtheatre/

Monday 15th June

Theatre Royal, Glasgow

The Producers

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It was the comics who took centre stage in Mel Brooks’ madcap musical The Producers. Ross Noble a demonic Franz Liebkind and Jason Manford got to showcase his under used singing skills.

Review: https://glasgowtheatreblog.com/2015/06/18/review-the-producers-theatre-royal-glasgow/

Tuesday 16th June

King’s Theatre, Glasgow

Calamity Jane

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A stand-out performance from Tom Lister as Wild Bill Hickcok saved this overly-long show.The Glasgow audience loved it from the first notes though.

Review: https://glasgowtheatreblog.com/2015/06/19/review-calamity-jane-kings-theatre-glasgow/

Thursday 18th June

Glasgow Royal Concert Hall,

The Overtones



An unexpected treat – sharp harmonies and even sharper moves, they worked their socks off delivering hit after hit after hit. Also their fans must rank among the most vocal I’ve ever encountered.

Monday 22nd June

Theatre Royal, Glasgow

Twelve Angry Men


A tremendous play and the perfect ensemble piece. A slew of powerhouse performances which had the audience in the palm of its hand from curtain rise to fall.

Tuesday 23rd June

King’s Theatre, Glasgow

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels


No better on second viewing – a hugely talented cast who performed their socks off but their talent was wasted in this lacklustre excuse for a musical.

Wednesday 24th June

Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

Idina Menzel

idina menzel uk tour glasgow

Queen Idina came to Glasgow and wowed the crowd – “I’m loopy”, she cried, and you couldn’t deny it as she rolled on the floor covered in gold tattoos during a rendition of Radiohead’s “Creep”. Crazy as a box of frogs but bloody brilliant none the less.

This is just some of the stuff I’ve seen – there were a few shows that I saw and didn’t review too, some CD/DVD reviews as well, there were also listings and news entries and other bits of weekly blog admin too – I couldn’t begin to guess the actual hours in between spent actually writing the reviews. Anyway here’s to the next one…

REVIEW: John Wilson Orchestra Cole Porter in Hollywood – Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

Yes, dear readers it’s that time of year when I profess my undying love for John Wilson and his outstanding orchestra. Following on the heels of this summer’s Kiss Me Kate Prom (which incidentally will be broadcast this Christmas on BBC) and last year’s Rodgers and Hammerstein at the Movies, Wilson has turned his attention to the great Cole Porter on the 50th anniversary of the musical genius’ death.

Wilson has eschewed an evening of out and out familiar tunes, instead he has interspersed the big hitters like “I Get a Kick Out of You”, “Your the Top” and “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” with lesser known numbers such as “Love of my Life”, “The Physician” and “Please Don’t Monkey with Broadway” and provides a broad representation of Porter.

The quality of the playing is of the highest order and the sheer joy on the faces of the musicians transmits itself to the capacity audience. The programme is beautifully enhanced by regular singers Matt Ford and Anna Jane Casey who take on the jazzier numbers and newcomers to the John Wilson Orchestra: Scarlett Strallen and Richard Morrison. Strallen and Morrison are particularly stunning in the more demanding numbers and Strallen shines in the rib-tickling “The Physician”.

It remains to be seen what’s next for the John Wilson Orchestra but I personally can’t wait to see what it is.

REVIEW: Bond and Beyond – Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

Since 1962, no movie franchise has conjured up an image of glamour, intrigue and mystery quite like the Bond films. The locations might change, the villains might change, even the Bonds are ever-changing but the one thing that remains the same is the big, block-busting theme music.

Conductor and arranger Clive Dunstall and the Scottish Concert Orchestra take that most constant feature of the movies and present an evening that showcases the best of 50 years of Bond music.

With 25 movies to choose from you would be forgiven for thinking that there was enough material for a concert, but Dunstall has enhanced and extended the programme above and beyond Bond by including a series of ‘suites’ based upon themes from the world’s best-loved cop shows: there are medleys of “British”, “Female” and “American Detectives” interspersed throughout, which, much to the delight of the audience, added a ‘name that tune’ competition element to the show.

The playing from the Scottish Concert Orchestra is an absolute delight, a fact that is made all the more astonishing when we learn that the afternoon’s concert was presented after only two and a half hours of rehearsal that morning, it remains tight and on-point throughout. But it is the two guest singers, West End veterans Tim Howar and Louise Dearman who are the outstanding highlight of the performance. The sheer diversity of styles they have to recreate is jaw-dropping, that they do it with such style, panache and power is impressive. Both have exquisitely toned voices, with vast ranges which they utilise effortlessly and to great effect.

Like Bond himself this is a classy affair; a top notch programme, first-rate singers and a world-class orchestra – an afternoon’s entertainment of the highest order.


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.

REVIEW: A West End Christmas at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall


This is becoming a yearly ritual at the Royal Concert Hall. With numbers from the greatest West End and Broadway musicals including: The Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables, Wicked, Guys & Dolls, Chess, Cabaret, A Chorus Line, Singin’ in the Rain, Top Hat, Kiss Me Kate, The Lion King, Mamma Mia! and many more. This year’s soloists are:

Leila Benn Harris:


Jacqui Scott:


Daniel Boys:


and Graham Bickley:


all accompanied by the Scottish Festival Orchestra and City of Glasgow Chorus, conducted by Martin Yates.

Instead of the usual two hours of Christmas songs, this is a cleverly chosen selection of songs with a festive connection or from beloved movies seen during the festive season. The choices range from the familiar to the less well known but the running thread through it all is the superb quality.

In the hands of the four talented soloists the whole show flies by, each bringing a different vocal and performance style which lends great light and shade to the concert. Highlights include Jacqui Scott’s stunning rendition of Macavity from Cats, Leila Benn Harris’ Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again from Phantom of the Opera, Daniel Boys great comic delivery of Mr. Cellophane from Chicago and the final goosebump-inducing rendition of One Day More from Les Miserables by the ensemble and the City of Glasgow Chorus which sent the audience back onto the street with a song in their hearts and a spring in their steps.

Looking forward to next year already.


REVIEW: West End Men – Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow


Starring three West End veterans, Lee Mead, Stephen Rahman-Hughes and Ramin Karimloo, the West End Men present a selection of key songs from some of their most famous roles together with a collection of some of the world’s best known show tunes.

As Mead, Rahman-Hughes and especially Karimloo take to the stage, the cheers are almost deafening, for Karimloo the reception stops him literally in his tracks – asking the musical director to give him his key again as the crowd refuse to be quieted. 

The three then rip through some of the most famous songs in musical theatre with some pop favourites thrown in for good measure. The quality of the singing is top-rate which is only to be expected from performers with their pedigree, but it is Karimloo who is the stand-out star of the night, his voice making the others look pedestrian in comparison – it is easy to see why he is regarded the West End’s best, and favourite star. There isn’t much more to say except that this was top quality, a sheer joy to watch and it sent the audience home hoarse of voice but with a spring in their step and a song in their heart. Hopefully it won’t be long before the trio make a welcome return to Glasgow. An excellent night’s entertainment.


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