Three Towns: In Concert
18th November 2017
Three Towns Operatic Society
St Joseph’s Hall
Type of Production
Author: David Slater
This delightful concert performance from a society packed with musical talent helped to brighten up a rather gloomy November evening. The selection of musical treats was certainly eclectic and it was interesting to hear some familiar tunes, a few unfairly neglected classics and music which was new to me, given the Three Towns treatment in fine style. There were a few strange choices in the musical mixture too but the combination of ensemble and solo work was well judged and always of a good standard. The seating arrangements in the hall added to the pleasantly informal atmosphere in what was an altogether thoroughly enjoyable evening.
A good deal of thought had obviously gone into adapting and arranging the diverse range of musical sources to suit the ensemble and there was no doubting the talent and commitment of the performers. ‘If My Friends Could See Me Now’ from ‘Sweet Charity’ was a rousing opening number and the ensemble galloped through a number of other show tunes throughout the evening, linked by an amiable narration from compère David Hill.
There were several impressive solo numbers peppered throughout the concert with an interesting mixture of musical influences, old and new. Victoria Goulden excelled with a wonderful performance of a Franz Lehar classic, with Tony Meehan bringing things right up to date with ‘The Last Goodbye’ from the recent Hobbit film. Winston Carmichael gave a very thoughtful rendering of the classic ‘Old Man River’ from ‘Showboat’, making the song very much his own and if Lauren Smith was perhaps a little underpowered in the vocal department with ‘I Know Where I’ve Been’, she more than made up for it with emotional intensity. Allen Christey-Casson and Jean Forrester gave us a delightfully old school rendition of ‘Driving in the Park’ which twinkled with light hearted fun and sounded lovely too. Joan Ashcroft gave her all with ‘I Don’t Know How to Love Him’ - I wasn’t sure how well this choice of song managed the transition from ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ to a concert programme though - and Ken Rees gave a strong showing with ‘Stars’ from ‘Les Miserables’ which made for a suitable final showing from our soloists. Pianist Nicola Dagnall also impressed throughout the evening with an unflaggingly excellent performance all night.
The ensemble as a whole sounded marvellous when their voices came together in unison. Highlights for me were ‘Razzle Dazzle’ and ‘The Rose’ in particular, with the company really giving a great musical display with selections from ‘Orpheus in the Underworld’ (as an advert for their next production which on the strength of this performance, promises to be one to watch). I was less sure about the Jersey Boys selection, the encore (‘Unchained Melody’) and the Queen tribute - the pop group you understand, not Her Majesty! - however. As clever and well rehearsed as these arrangements clearly were, the weak lyrical content was exposed and this holed the endeavour below the waterline in each case for me. ‘Be My Baby’ faired better in comparison, as the much needed humorous touch in the performance of this song from the ladies helped to carry the day.
This was a very polished and enjoyable evening of musical memories old and new from a society who clearly know their business. Many thanks for your kind invitation and warm welcome: I hope all goes well with preparations for ‘Orpheus’ and I shall definitely make sure I make a note in my diary to attend what promises to be a first class production.