Tag Archives: Royal Concert Hall

REVIEW: Idina Menzel – Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

idina menzel standing arms aloft

Tony Award-winning Broadway superstar Idina Menzel is in town once again with her individual blend of musical theatre classics, pop standards and self-penned songs from her new album.

As ever it’s an eclectic mix: The Beatles’ Dear Prudence melding into Do You Want to Build a Snowman?, a clutch of the songs from the shows that made her Broadway name – Seasons of Love and No Day But Today from Rent, Defying Gravity and For Good from Wicked, some very introspective offerings about her divorce, her son and finding new love from the album idina and, of course, the ubiquitous Let It Go from Frozen – which she performed with a clutch of tiny fans at her side, oh, and a Led Zeppelin tune.

Menzel is best described as ‘quirky’ and this unevenly paced and toned production is a reflection of that. At times utterly distant: there’s little dialogue in the first 20 minutes or so save the occasional ‘thank you’, then in turn confessional: disclosures about her divorce from actor Taye Diggs, her relationship with her son and her recent engagement, then utterly accessible: chatting and singing with fans. The result, though keeping the audience on its toes, is a little unsettling at times – there’s no build of excitement and in the moments when the audience has the chance to get truly engaged it crashes to earth with another sensitive ballad. As a huge fan, and someone who has seen her in concert and in stage roles many times, it all seemed a little too self-involved, even for a performer as kooky as Menzel. Engaging – yes, entertaining – yes, a bit all over the place – a definite yes.

Menzel is a unique talent, and despite a few wavering notes, still in fine form. Not her best, her previous UK tours had more impact, but still packing a punch and still with the power to move.

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.