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INTERVIEW: Elesha Paul Moses starring as Tina Turner in What’s Love Got To Do With It? at Glasgow’s King’s Theatre

Elesha Paul Moses has paid her dues in the entertainment world; she’s been striving for success in the music business for 20 years, through sheer hard graft and some TV talent shows. Now she’s taken her singing career to a new level starring in the mammoth tribute show tour What’s Love Got To Do With It?, celebrating the music and life of rock, soul legend Tina Turner.

Elesha, 39, who lives in Hampshire and grew up in Surrey, appeared on The X Factor in 2010, alongside One Direction, winner Matt Cardle and in the same category as the big-haired, bongo playing wild card contestant Wagner. She then reached the battle rounds – twice – on The Voice, with will.i.am in a duo in 2013 and Tom Jones as a solo act a year later. She had previously been mentored by Mathew Knowles – Beyoncé’s dad – on a Channel 4 talent show.

She is also touring the UK, and has performed in Europe and Brazil, as the late, great Whitney Houston in Whitney: Queen Of The Night – including five sell-out shows at the Savoy Theatre in London’s West End.

Brought to you by the award-winning producers behind Whitney: Queen Of The Night, What’s Love Got To Do With It? is the ultimate tribute concert paying homage to one of the most iconic musical artists of the 20th Century.

We spoke to Elesha about her love of performing, and how she loves to party with Tina fans all over the UK.

What’s Love Got To Do With It? launched in 2019, you’ve been on the road for a year now – how has it been, paying homage to a rock and soul legend like Tina Turner?

It has been incredible. Heading into the start of the show, I’d been pretty full on with Whitney: Queen Of The Night so didn’t have too much time to think about it… Then it was full on into touring mode for What’s Love Got To Do With It? and we’ve been up and down the country ever since.

There has been so much love for the show from audiences and on social media – it’s been amazing. I’ve been working hard on the vocals, and the band, backing singers and costumes are fantastic. We love being on the road, meeting all the fantastic fans and that’s made preparing for the 2020 tour even more exciting, as we know what the reactions will be.

Fans have loved the show. What does it feel like to see such brilliant responses from the audience, and to receive the amazing reviews online?

It’s surreal, especially for someone like me as I’m really self critical; I’m always thinking ‘What could I do better?’, even when people are saying the show is fantastic. The comments we get are actually a little overwhelming, and we’re so very grateful for each and every one.

Seeing people in the audience having a brilliant night out, dancing and singing along is what it’s all about.

You perform as both Whitney Houston and Tina Turner – they’re very different artists. What’s it like recreating these iconic female performers live on stage?

It’s been a big learning curve, in the sense of keeping pushing on with everything I do for the two shows.

Doing Whitney as well as Tina, you need a huge amount of stamina – vocally, physically and mentally, but in such different ways for each performance. Tina is much more the physical challenge, Whitney is the vocal challenge. But working hard to be at my best in both areas pays off on both shows.

And it’s funny really. They are such different sounding performers! Each role strengthens my voice in such different ways, but that only helps make me better in each show.

Tina’s not got a growl as such. People think it’s shouting but it’s not, it’s a very particular tone that she has, and she’s so free with her performance.

Then when I’m on stage as Whitney it’s almost the opposite. You’re so exposed and there’s nowhere to hide as it’s a much slower, more mellow pace of show.

Compare that to Tina and What’s Love Got To Do With It?… Once you’re on stage, there’s no letting up from the moment you start. I love that very strong contrast between the two.

You have such a busy schedule with both shows running alongside each other. With two young children, how do you manage that with family life?

Mark, my husband is amazing; I have the best man in the world. I definitely couldn’t do it without him.

My eldest daughter Kookie is turning eight soon, and she’s only ever known me to be a singer. So, in some ways, she’s used to it but occasionally she’ll say something. My little one Teddy doesn’t know any different to the schedule we now have, I’m lucky she’s so young.

For me, I’m able to shut it off to an extent, as I know this is all about building for their future – whatever job you have, you have to balance family life. I also think we’re so lucky to have things like Facetime now so you can catch up easily and see them if you are away for a few days at a time.

What’s your favourite song to perform as Tina Turner?

There are so many I love. Proud Mary is obviously so much fun, but I also love Typical Male and I Can’t Stand The Rain. But for my absolute favourite… I’ll go Proud Mary. It always used to be Simply The Best which people really loved and went mad for – but these days it’s definitely Proud Mary.

Tina Turner is still such a huge name in music, why do you think she’s still so popular?

She is just such a great all-rounder, and she appeals to men as well as women. She’s a great rock and roll artist. Her songs have never gone away. Even youngsters now, they know tracks like Proud Mary. You do those songs and they’re all over it.

Tina’s had difficult times too over the years, but she came through it. I think people like that side of her story too, as well as the brilliant music.

How did you get into singing and performing as a tribute artist?

When I first realised I could properly sing I was about 13 – I was always mimicking others and that’s how I taught myself. But that real big belting voice wouldn’t necessarily come out. Then, listening to people like Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey, those kind of artists, was when it really came to me. Funnily, I didn’t really listen to Tina Turner when I was younger, my parents played her music in the car, but it wasn’t what I took to at the time.

I was singing in a club and a friend said ‘We should do something different’, I said ‘Shall we try Whitney or something?’. I went home, put down a couple of lines of Whitney and thought ‘Oh, I can sound like her’. It went from there, and a similar thing happened when I started with Tina.

You’ve been working in the music industry for a long time – you started writing with a record company aged just 17 and have been on TV reality talent shows. Can you tell us about the switch to the world of tributes?

I never used to do tributes, I was striving to do my own stuff and put out my own music. Things happened in my life, and I was in between things not really knowing what to do. I didn’t know how to get into the tribute business, but at the same time I felt that by doing that I would miss doing my own thing too.

But I’d done my album and did lots of trying to make it before doing the TV shows. I’d tried the traditional, old fashioned methods to get signed. It was just never meant to be. So, I decided it was time to take it away from being me and into being someone else.

How was your time on The X Factor and The Voice – and what did you learn from the experience?

When I did X Factor – in 2010, 10 years ago, wow – I was in the year of One Direction and Cher Lloyd, and Wagner, he was in Louis Walsh’s Overs category with me, but I went home after judges’ houses.

I was asked to audition for The Voice, and I first went when I was pregnant with Kookie – but I realised the live shows would be on when I was due with her so had to back out. But I auditioned again in 2013 as part of a duo [getting to the battle rounds in Team will.i.am], and again in 2014 [again, getting to the battle rounds with Team Tom].

Doing both of these did give me a boost at the time, even though I got so close but ultimately wasn’t successful. I don’t know what people think of me as an artist having done those shows, but I’m so grateful and glad to have moved on to what I’m doing now.

I’m 99.9per cent – no, make that 100per cent sure I wouldn’t be tempted to do it again.

Forget being mentored by Louis Walsh – tell us about working with Mathew Knowles, Beyoncé’s dad!

So, yes, I did a TV show a long time ago, where I was mentored by Mathew Knowles – Beyoncé’s dad – that was pretty mad. It was Chancers on Channel 4’s T4, and I won the chance from UK auditions to spend a month in Houston, America, where the group of us chosen had various challenges. Mine was to sing at the same studio where Whitney Houston had recorded.

That experience gave me a really tough skin, to know that whatever you do don’t worry about what’s happened in the past; it’s all brought me to where I am now.

Tickets are on sale now from www.cuffeandtaylor.com

 

WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT? TOUR DATES 2020

March

Wed 4th PORTSMOUTH, GUILDHALL

Thu 5th POOLE, LIGHTHOUSE

Fri 6th TUNBRIDGE WELLS, ASSEMBLY HALL

Sat 7th KINGS LYNN, CORN EXCHANGE

Thu 12th LYTHAM, LOWTHER PAVILION

Fri 13th WARRINGTON, PYRAMID & PARR HALL

Sat 14th HALIFAX, VICTORIA THEATRE

Thu 19th BIRMINGHAM, ARENA BIRMINGHAM

Fri 20th LEEDS, FIRST DIRECT ARENA

Sat 21st NEWCASTLE, O2 CITY HALL

Thu 26th ABERDEEN, MUSIC HALL

Fri 27th DUNDEE, CAIRD HALL

Sat 28th EDINBURGH, USHER HALL

Sun 29th GLASGOW, KING’S THEATRE

April

Sat 4th HULL, CITY HALL

Sat 11th LOUGHBOROUGH, TOWN HALL

Sat 18th SHEFFIELD, CITY HALL

Thu 23rd PETERBOROUGH, NEW THEATRE

Sat 25th IPSWICH, REGENT THEATRE

May

Mon 4th MILTON KEYNES, MILTON KEYNES THEATRE

Thu 7th SOUTHEND, CLIFFS PAVILION

Thu 14th HAYES, BECK THEATRE

Sun 31st CROYDON, ASHCROFT PLAYHOUSE

June

Sat 6th CARLISLE, SANDS CENTRE

Wed 17th SUNDERLAND, SUNDERLAND EMPIRE

Thu 18th BRADFORD, ST GEORGE’S HALL

Fri 19th STOCKPORT, PLAZA

Sat 20th MALVERN, MALVERN THEATRE

Fri 26th LONDON, INDIGO AT THE O2

July

Wed 1st EXETER, NORTHCOTT THEATRE

Thu 2nd BARNSTAPLE, QUEENS THEATRE

Fri 3rd CHATHAM, CENTRAL THEATRE

Thu 9th OXFORD, NEW THEATRE

Fri 10th BRIGHTON, THEATRE ROYAL

Sat 11th BASINGSTOKE, ANVIL ARTS

Sun 12th HORNCHURCH, QUEEN’S THEATRE

Thu 16th NEW BRIGHTON, FLORAL PAVILION

Fri 17th ISLE OF MAN, VILLA MARINA

Wed 22th BROMLEY, CHURCHILL THEATRE

Fri 24th DARLINGTON, DARLINGTON HIPPODROME

August  

Sun 9th BRISTOL, HIPPODROME

Fri 28th WEYMOUTH, PAVILION

September  

Thu 17th MANCHESTER, BRIDGEWATER HALL

Sat 19th CARDIFF, ST DAVID’S HALL

Wed 23rd ST HELENS, THEATRE ROYAL

Wed 30th DARTFORD, ORCHARD THEATRE

October  

Fri 2nd DUNSTABLE, GROVE THEATRE

Sat 10th NOTTINGHAM, ROYAL CONCERT HALL

Wed 14th LLANDUDNO, VENUE CYMRU

Fri 16th ST ALBANS, ALBAN ARENA

Fri 30th BATH, FORUM

Sat 31st CHELMSFORD, CIVIC THEATRE

November  

Wed 4th LEICESTER, DE MONTFORT HALL

Sat 7th GRIMSBY, AUDITORIUM

Thu 26th BLACKPOOL, OPERA HOUSE

Fri 27th WYCOMBE, SWAN THEATRE

December

Fri 4th CAMBRIDGE, CORN EXCHANGE

Thu 10th DUDLEY, TOWN HALL

 

REVIEW: Lisa Stansfield Affection 30th Anniversary Tour – Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

Ivor Novello and BRIT Award-winner Lisa Stansfield is currently riding the second wave of her career, after bursting on the scene in 1989, and re-emerging after a sabbatical of over a decade with 2014’s album Seven and 2018’s Deeper.

Hot on the heels of last year’s Deeper tour, this time we are going back, waaaay back, thirty years, to celebrate her debut album Affection. And it’s a full-on nostalgia fest for her fans as she transports them back to those heady days where it all began. As the hall is filled with the rich, full sound of her smooth eight piece band (and two outstanding backing vocalists) you’d be forgiven for thinking this was Stansfield’s 90s heyday – the illusion only shattered by the grey haired, middle-aged audience bopping along with the hits.

Stansfield is still as strong a vocalist as she ever was, the power unbelievably coming from such a teeny, tiny, frame. She storms through Sincerity, Poison, Mighty Love, This is the Right Time, the title track Affection and of course, All Around the World among others.

For someone who is known as a gregarious and verbose interviewee she is surprisingly mute throughout most of the set, rarely engaging with her audience beyond a word or two. There are no frills – the set is a cloth with Lisa on it and the lighting is simplistic. Stansfield relies on the music, and her lauded vocals to do the talking for her.

It is all very low-key and very mellow, and while the mega-fans are lapping it up, to those less invested, the similar sounding songs and the lack of light and shade mean that many of the songs are indistinguishable from one other.

It might not win her any new fans but it’s definitely an evening of quality and nostalgia for Stansfield fans.

The Affection tour continues to:

Tue 29 Oct 2019 – UK, Birmingham Symphony Hall
Thu 31 Oct 2019 – UK, London Royal Albert Hall
Fri 01 Nov 2019 – UK, Cardiff St David’s Hall

 

REVIEW: Leah MacRae – My Big Fat Fabulous Diary – Theatre Royal, Glasgow

It takes a brave actress indeed to decide to create your own solo show and take it on the road, especially an already successful one. Leah MacRae is well-known and loved as Julie in Gary: Tank Commander, Ellie in the Scottish soap River City and the lead in the spoof 50 Shades of Maggie, so you think she’d rest on her laurels. To lay bare your embarrassing teenage diary musings with the world and open up about your daily struggles with fat-shaming, and rejection in your industry, takes courage, even if it is couched in a musical comedy show.

The first impression of MacRae is that she is a fearless, bold, bigger than life personality, un-moved by the criticism of others, and to a certain extent that’s true (she bounds on stage looking like a bubblegum pink pantomime fairy), she even says: “if I were a size 10, I’d be a complete w****r”. However, as we scratch beneath the surface to get to the real message behind these stories and songs, there’s a world of hurt that’s had to be overcome. MacRae is here to spread the word about us all being a bit kinder to each other, that however positive a face we present to the world, these constant barbs and the constant career rejection because of your size, does hurt. That we should embrace and have confidence in who we are, whatever we look like. To never give up on our dreams. She hysterically cites Victoria Beckham as her unlikely inspiration, but maybe not for the reasons you’d think!

Split into two acts, there are few theatrical conventions the Glaswegian powerhouse doesn’t cover: there’s drama, lots and lots of comedy, funny songs, heart-breaking songs, big ballads, a mix-tape section!, dancing and a ton of banter with her hometown audience. While the first act is a mixture of all these, the second becomes a bit more reflective and the mood does take a bit of a dive, until we end with the ubiquitous This Is Me from The Greatest Showman.

There’s some good material here, but there’s a feeling it’s not all it could be. MacRae, talks about constant comparisons to fellow Glaswegian Michelle McManus. McManus has had her own one-woman show, also autobiographical, also funny and also featuring some knock out hits. While MacRae is a talented comedy actress, McManus is a natural born storyteller with an innate comic timing that can’t be learned, and an ability to gauge exactly what makes a perfectly pitched show. MacRae possibly needs some outside eyes to take this raw material with great potential and make it a knock-out from start to finish. There’s also the issue of nerves. MacRae is home, not only in front of her local fans, but her family and friends, and the pressure shows. She looks nervous and as a result the dialogue comes out so fast that it’s impossible to hear a lot of it from anywhere above the stalls.

It’s easy to warm to MacRae, this is an entertaining evening and it’s great to hear her unleash her big voice at full force, but there’s a lot of potential that’s not being fulfilled. Hopefully, there’s more to come. If this is the first version of her stage show, I can’t wait to see the next.

Leah MacRae continues to tour until June. See her website for details.

REVIEW: Milton Jones and Chums – The Town House, Hamilton

The king of the one-liner Milton Jones and star of Mock the Week, Live at the Apollo and Comedy Roadshow, is touring the country with a slew of local comedians in tow. Luckily for Lanarkshire, Jones and chums are stopping off in Hamilton for one night only.

Compered brilliantly by stand up and star of Scot Squad, Chris Forbes, this is a well-curated showcase that delivers a satisfying night of comedy to the packed crowd.

Chris Forbes

Unenviably, it’s down to Edinburgh-based Gareth Waugh to open the show. Waugh is a personable and polished comedian and his self-deprecating stories have enough relatable material to get the crowd nodding and laughing along. It must be said though that for anyone who has seen him in the last few years, much of the material has been culled from his past two Edinburgh Fringe show: granny’s mad childhood games, the teenage gang asking him to buy them a carry-out and his jogging exploits to name a few. There’s also a fair amount of awkwardly familiar stories to make you cringe in recognition. It’s funny enough, and it serves its purpose as a warm up for the acts to come, but there’s nothing new or particularly ground-breaking here.

Gareth Waugh

Next up is the Santa Claus bearded and board shorts and t-shirt wearing veteran Graham Mackie. Mackie’s look may be benign and affable but his material is deceptively subversive, a combination that goes down well with the Hamilton crowd.

Graham Mackie

Second-to-top-billing falls to recent social media viral sensation Gary Meikle, whose rant on his daughter’s obsession with her eyebrows has struck a chord in these self-absorbed times. Meikle a single dad and youthful granddad at 40, delivers a knock-out selection of hugely relatable anecdotes that really do have the audience almost rolling in the aisles. What shines through is his love for his daughter and granddaughter, who provide rich material for the deft story-teller.

Gary Meikle

The wild-haired Jones is well worth the wait and the intellect behind the drolly delivered one-liners is sharp, sharp, sharp. Jones is well aware that some are so clever that they need a moment to land and his deft-touch with an audience allows this to happen.

This is really is a bumper evening of comedy, without a weak link on the bill. Each comedian is well worth seeing on their own and an even bigger treat altogether.

Milton Jones

REVIEW: Nashville: The Farewell Tour – SSE Hydro, Glasgow

Season six marks the end of the road for the much-loved TV hit Nashville. Spreading contemporary country music to the masses, it has captured the hearts of its viewers. So, it was a bittersweet goodbye to the actor/musicians who have made the show such a hit, at the filled-to-capacity Hydro Arena last night.

Favourites Charles Esten, Clare Bowen, Sam Palladio, Chris Carmack and Jonathan Jackson delivered a greatest hits of the six years of the show with some unexpected twists too: Jonathan Jackson’s rendition of Simple Mind’s Belfast Child and Unchained Melody, and Charles Esten leading the 13000-strong crowd in a roof-raising rendition of Oasis’ Don’t Look Back in Anger, to name a few.

This contemporary country music is easy on the ear, the tone is well-judged to delight every section of the crowd, and each performer gets their chance to shine. There’s a well balanced variety of songs from ballads to all-out rock numbers.

There’s a sincerity to the evening’s festivities and a genuine thankfulness conveyed for the reception from the crowd and the opportunities that appearing on the show have given to each performer.

An emotionally charged farewell and a fitting end to a show that has given pleasure to many and as much as this is a goodbye, the phenomenal demand for these performers and this music means that it will undoubtedly not be long until we hear from them again.

The tour continues at selected venues around the UK.

Image contributed.

 

REVIEW: Giovanni Pernice, il ballo è vita – The Town House, Hamilton

giiovanni pernice luba mushtuk

Sicilian dance superstar and Strictly Come Dancing alumnus Giovanni Pernice is the latest TV dance pro to take his own personal show on the road and it is arguably, the best one yet.

What this stunning show, il ballo è vito (Dance is Life), demonstrates is that the TV dance behemoth Strictly suffocates the personality of its stars. As a regular viewer of the show, I would be hard pressed to express what I thought Pernice’s personality was – the tabloid gossip about a romance with his celebrity partner the only hint of the man behind the smile. In reality Pernice has a winning and highly charming personality and instead of show-boating in the limelight, he is so comfortable in his ability to shine that he creates a show in which all of his cast get a turn in the spotlight.

cast of dancers il ballo e vita dance is life gianni pernice

There is real artistry here, and under the direction and choreography of Strictly director of choreography Jason Gilkison, there’s so much that delights. The first act has a charming Italian theme, with innovative and beautifully staged classics such as: Volare, Mambo Italiano, That’s Amore and Tu Vuo Fa’ L’Americano. There’s also a funny interlude when a member of the audience joins Giovanni on stage to share some food, Lady and the Tramp style – much to the amusement of the audience. Unlike many of these contrived moments in other dance shows, Pernice’s ease with the audience and genuine charm allows him to pull it off with aplomb. The second act is a tale based on the love story of Pernice’s grandmother and grandfather set to a contemporary and classic soundtrack.

The choreography is simply stunning and the sheer speed and originality of the footwork on display is breath-taking. Pernice is truly a class apart. Mention must be made too of the excellent set and lighting (and shadow) design that enhances the choreography beautifully throughout.

Pernice shows he is a team player, more than ably supported by a team of professionals (including the highly talented Russian dancer Luba Mushtuk), he allows each their chance to shine.

There’s a wonderfully relaxed atmosphere throughout and the ease in the interactions with the audience make this show stand out. This is a classy affair, beautifully staged, and the best Stricty alumni show so far. Catch it if you can.

REVIEW: Shirley Valentine – King’s Theatre, Glasgow

jodie prenger against a greek seaside background

Willy Russell’s track record of successfully writing about ordinary women is almost unparalleled in popular theatre: Educating Rita, Blood Brothers and this, his 1986 effort Shirley Valentine, have repeatedly touched the hearts of the nation in both stage and film versions.

Shirley Bradshaw (Jodie Prenger) is 42, with two teenage kids who have flown the nest, an emotionally distant husband, her day to day existence leaving her resigned to (literally) talking to the egg-yolk yellow walls of her pine-clad kitchen. When her best friend offers to pay for a well-needed holiday for the pair, Shirley jumps at the chance to escape.

In the 30 years that have passed since it was written, much has changed, and women have come a long way. Despite a few dated references, and the fact that at 42, an age when many women in 2017 are only starting to contemplate having a family, 1980’s Shirley feels washed up and unable to escape her situation, Russell’s script has largely weathered the years well. That he can wring so much humour and pathos from the life of a working class Liverpudlian housewife, is a testament to his talent. It is in turn touching, resonant and laugh-out-loud funny.

That said, it’s not without fault. Essentially a 16000-word monologue, the weight of the production’s success is set firmly on the shoulders of the lead. Here, Prenger can’t rely on her impressive singing voice. Shirley’s cheeky chat and charisma, coupled with Prenger’s vivacity and heightened characterisation make it hard to believe that she doesn’t have the confidence to leave her dreary life behind. However, Prenger’s natural warmth transmits brilliantly to the audience, making us forgive her less than on-point Liverpool accent, and the audience is never not rooting for her every step of her journey.

Amy Yardley’s set design is simple, the 80s kitchen familiar to anyone who lived through the decade. Less successful is the rendering of the sun-drenched Greek island, the azure blue Mediterranean Sea more plastic camping tarpaulin than lapping waves. That said, it’s the words that matter, and those are glorious.

There’s enough here to still resonate with an audience in 2017; it’s a perfect balance of thought-provoking, self-searching, inspirational and life-affirming. It will make you, as Russell says in his script, “fall in love with the idea of living.” A British theatre classic and deservedly so.

Runs until 6 May 2017 | Image: Manuel Harlan

THIS ARTICLE WAS ORIGINALLY WRITTEN FOR THE REVIEWS HUB HERE

REVIEW: Michael Ball & Alfie Boe – Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow

The master of musical theatre Michael Ball and Britain’s best-loved tenor Alfie Boe join forces on a UK tour to promote their recently released album Together.

The whole evening rattles along amiably and the pair has an easy charm that transmits well to the audience. The programme is rich and varied: from an Elvis medley, a James Bond segment to a selection from Les Mis, a show that both have a history with – Ball as the first Marius and Boe as a critically lauded Jean Valjean on both Broadway and the West End. However, surprisingly, it is a Rat Pack segment that blends these two contrasting voices to best effect.

The pair have ample opportunity to showcase their considerable vocal skills; Boe has the power and drive and Ball the mellow honeyed tones. For Boe, the highlight is undoubtedly his rendition of The Who’s Love Rain on Me, a powerhouse performance that has the audience on its feet at its conclusion, for Ball it’s his personal anthem Love Changes Everything.

This is a rare opportunity to see two singing giants together on one stage and the result is a hugely entertaining evening – a rare treat, and a class act from start to end.

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.

ellie-laugharne-as-adina-and-elgan-llyr-thomas-as-nemorino-in-the-elixir-of-love-scottish-opera-2016-credit-tim-morozzo-2

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.

james-cleverton-as-dulcamara-in-the-elixir-of-love-scottish-opera-2016-credit-tim-morozzo-3

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.

ellie-laugharne-as-adina-elgan-llyr-thomas-as-nemorino-and-toby-girling-as-belcore-in-the-elixir-of-love-scottish-opera-2016-credit-tim-morozzo

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

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