Music and Reviews from Clare, Limerick, Waterford and sometimes further afield

Friday, April 15, 2016

Spirit of Spike at Theatre Royal

I caught one of the early nights of a touring production from Big Telly Theatre Company in Waterford last night. A six piece all-male ensemble from the Northern Ireland company presented a highly entertaining,  energetic adaptation of Spike Milligan's comic novel, Puckoon. A zany cocktail  blending Spike Milligan's  goonish humour  with elements of  Flann O Brien and Dave Allen sketches. The actors proved a versatile bunch adding colourful musical accompaniment on a variety of instruments including drums, whistle, ukulele, concertina and harmonica supplementing  Paul Boyd's lynchpin piano/ stroke narrator. There were some lovely theatrical touches. I loved the paper maché boy scout troop. You can read more  about it here.

I had a chat with the performers in Jordan's Bar after the show. Two of the cast have been with the production since it's first outing in 2009. I asked MD , Paul Boyd if the show had changed very much over three iterations. Yes he said, they had adapted it somewhat depending on the audience response and the strengths of the players involved in each of the three productions but in essence it remains the show that proved it's popular appeal with a successful run at the Leicester Square theatre in London's West End.
Paddy Jenkins  recalled  his many trips to the Theatre Royal to perform at Waterford International Light Opera Festival. (What a shame amid the plethora of Waterford festivals, this event lost it's toehold.)

I thought Puckoon was terrific! If you missed it, you can catch it at about half a dozen more venues including a four night run at The Everyman, Cork at the end of May.

Cast  Paul Boyd writer / piano
         Paddy Jenkins Dan Milligan
         John O Mahoney
         Patrick O Reilly
         Keith Singleton
         Giles Stoakley
Director Zoe Seaton

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Brandon and Matthewman conclude 74th Waterford-Music season with a 'joyous feast' of song

Sarah-Jane Brandon Gary Matthewman at The Georgian Large Room, Waterford

Schubert Viola 

Brahms Zigeunerlieder
Strauss Lieder op 27
Debussy Beau Soir/ Mandoline / Apparition
Franz Liszt Oh Quand je dors/ Enfant, si j'étais roi/ Comment, disaient-ils
Rachmaninov:  Zdes' khorosho op21  no 7
                          In the silence of the secret night op 4 no 3
                          The Water Lily Op 8 no 1
                           Son (The Dream) Op 38 no 5
                           Do not sing to me my beauty ) Op 4 no 4
Art is Calling me (I want to be a prima dona) from The Enchantress   Victor Herbert
O Mio Babbino Caro  Giannio Schicchi Puccini

Hey, Gypsy, strike upon your strings
Play the song of the faithless young girl
Let the strings weep complain, sadly quiver,
Until the hot tears flow down this cheek.

 Last night, I confess, 'hot tears flew down this cheek' as the 74th consecutive series of chamber music recitals under the aegis of Waterford-Music went out on a blaze of glorious song from two superb  artists. Pianist, Gary Matthewman is  no stranger to The Large Room. The Yorkshire man  made a big impression on Waterford audiences last year when he accompanied Máire Flavin at this event last year. Nobody gets a pianissimo out of the house Steinway C quite like Matthewman. The song pianist was  back in The Georgian Large Room last night with soprano, Sarah-Jane Brandon and the unanaimous consensus was that this was a fabulous night of song that will long be remembered.   If you missed it, too bad but you can  get a flavour of one of the numbers in this song of yearning, 'Quand je dors' by Franz Liszt .

Sarah-Jane Brandon sings Liszt from TallWall Media on Vimeo.

Throughout, Brandon demonstated the consummate skill and artistry that has garnered her prizes in the most prestigious song competitions She has a  gorgeous tone, the colour of which changed like a theatrical light board according to  range of emotions expressed in the lyrics  in German, French and Russian, all performed .from memory. A truly great voice allied to a gracious stage presence with animated facial expression all combined to make Brandon a compelling performer. Moreover, the pair exuded a joyful generosity of spirit and the audience responded warmly eliciting two encores before they were released.

Had I travelled to hear this superb song team  in a temple of music in London or Berlin, I would have considered it worth the trip. How blessed  are we to hear artists of this calibre
 on our doorsteps in the gem of a venue that is the Georgian Large Room.  A fabulous finale to another great season.

The recital was sponsored by the extended Downey family  in memory of Elizabeth Downey, a remarkable a lady who was singer , performer and concert promoter.  More about Elizabeth Downey here .

Related Posts Remembering Elizabeth 

                        Gary Matthewman: Lied in London Series