Brighton Gay Men’s Chorus: Pull A Cracker

In the past I have been critical of the BGMC’s penchant for comic interludes, I felt they slowed down the pace of otherwise thrilling musical evenings. Well last night I changed my mind. The skits were well scripted and well delivered too, focusing on the choir itself and around the theme of Christmas – I laughed out loud!

As for the music – well once again their musical offering was absolutely on the money, a good mix of their best numbers, Fight Song in particular, and seasonal classics including a complex arrangement of Carol Of The Bells that showed them at their musical best, congratulations to MD Marc Yarrow.

I would like to say that they were not best served by the sound system which at times was certainly lacking balance and all to often losing the choir completely and that was evident in all the large ensemble numbers – but not so much for the solos, duets and quartets. Few community choirs can boast so many amazing soloists.

Charlie Bedson delivered my very favourite Joni Mitchell song, River, and did it absolute justice by not messing with the purity of her sad Christmas song – too many singers seem to want to riff around a tune but when the tune is this good you need do nothing – well done Mr Bedson. We all thrilled to the hilarious take on The Four Seasons and loved their camp choreography and a fine Frankie Valli falsetto (sadly lost after the opening chorus by poor sound engineering once again).

Declan McChrystal and Sadao Ueda did a fine job of delivering A Million Dreams, from The Greatest Showman, this year’s go-to music source. I was not a fan of the film, feeling it was an overblown sterilisation of an exploiter of humanity (my problem I grant you) but the spine tingling moment of the evening had to be Never Enough. Once again Adam Betteridge and Nick Ford showing that not only do they have fine voices, great interpretive skills but also a beautifully understanding of how to deliver a duet. This performance had the hairs on my neck standing on end and has changed my view of that film – just a little.

Strictly star Joanne Clifton joined the evening, before her season at the Theatre Royal in Rocky Horror Show, and gave two excellent solos, Don’t Rain On My Parade, a thundering belter of a number – but more impressively Santa Baby, an opportunity to show that she can act a number.

From a beautifully dressed stage, overseen by a group of slightly sinister putti, excellent lighting and a well constructed programme of song and humour (did I mention The Twelve Gays Of Christmas?), except for the troubled sound quality, this was an exceptionally entertaining even that put a huge smile on my face.

Brighton Dome

8 December

Andrew Kay

Rating: ★★★★½

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