Sunday, September 19

Brighton Gay Men’s Chorus: We’re Back

- August 23, 2021

It’s been a tough time for the performing arts over the last 18 months, from almost every angle and whilst we might have enjoyed those who went online to keep us entertained it was not the same. The experience of live entertainment and the obvious benefits to both performer and audience that comes from that live experience and that vibrant interaction is simply irreplaceable. In the last knockings of Brighton Fringe BGMC redressed the balance with a particularly moving live concert in St Nicholas’s church, a handful of the members delivered a series of a capella solos and a smattering of duets much to the delight of we fans. Good as it was, and it was very good, we all missed that full sound that we know they can deliver.

Last night at The Warren BGMC were back, not in full force, COVID still wages its war on normality, but nothing was going to stop them and the response was testament to the fact that as an audience we just can’t get enough, appropriate enough as this was there opening number. Just Can’t Get Enough was the perfect start to an evening of song that reminded us just how good they can be.

The strange oil drum theatre at The Warren is an impressive performance space but perhaps not best suited to choirs. When giving us the full works fortissimo the effect was impressive but in the lighter moments one could sense that the acoustic of the space was not helping. Despite that choirmaster Joe Paxton pulled things together and the choir delivered some very impressive ensemble numbers and four excellent solos starting with Rainbow Connection from Kieran Moore, a Muppet Movie gem, City Of Stars which Andrew Farr delivered with an energy that almost made me re-assess my dislike for that film, almost…

Delilah was wonderfully powerful and Andy William’s nod to Tom Jones’ snake hips had the audience in tucks.

Once again Sadao Ueda did what he does so well and that is delivers a song, You will Be Found from Dear Evan Hansen, with the skill of the actor that he is, so much so that a handkerchief was required to dab away a tear.

The ensemble numbers are always impressive but I think that Muse’s Madness was hampered by that strange acoustic but they more than made up for that with the rest of the set and the brilliant arrangement of Secret Love with a piano accompaniment using the piano runs  from Gounod’s Ave Maria was a delightful mash up of Doris Day and the mother of god, who would have thought it. The choir were certainly put to task with arrangements requiring tongue twisting precision that would have impressed Gilbert and Sullivan!

The evening was packed with favourites that showed both the skill and artistry of the choirmaster and accompanist Tim Nail and the dedication of this choir who make the word amateur redundant. After an absence of real rehearsals for a year and a half it was an impressive return to the platform that more than deserved the standing ovations they received.

Andrew Kay

Brighton Gay Men’s Chorus

The Warren

22 August

Rating: ★★★★☆

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