Sunday, 18 November 2018

REPORTAGE: An Hour With Michael Parkinson - The Lowther Pavilion, Lytham St. Anne's.

Sir Michael Parkinson CBE is probably the most famous and beloved of British chat show hosts. This tour is dedicated to promote a book, 'George Best, A Memoir'. It’s a fantastic opportunity to not only spend some time with a legend but to hear his perspective on probably one of the most talented yet troubled footballers of our time. 

Now at 83 years old it is still a pleasure to hear the voice and enjoy the keenness of the mind shown by the ex -chat show host. The format is Parkinson being interviewed by his own son Michael jnr. and this works well, there is clearly a warmth between them and a joint love of the subject matter, George Best. 

A lifelong Manchester United fan, Parkinson talks with authority of how Sir Matt Busby had always searched for one person to lead his team to success. Having been robbed of Duncan Edwards so tragically because of the Munich air disaster, the arrival of Best allowed Busby to fulfil his dream of wining the European Cup in 1968. Interspersed with conversation and family anecdotes, there is footage of not only George Best, but other famous Manchester United Legends, Sir Matt Busby, Bobby Charlton and most poignantly footage of Best alongside David Beckham on the Parkinson Show. The interview with Beckham is particularly significant. These days’ footballing superstars are shielded by an array of agents and security guards, however this was not the case for Best. In 1963 this shy lad left home in Belfast and arrived in Manchester right into the maelstrom of the swinging 60’s. Receiving five thousand fan mail letters a week, Bests only shield was the landlady of the digs he lived in in Manchester and an agent based in Huddersfield. Clearly there is a deep respect, love and sense of loss between Parkinson and Best. From his arrival at Manchester United as a 17 year old boy, there was a bond between Best and Parkinson, who was working at Granada Television at the time, that continued for all the years of Best’s life. 

Speaking honestly Parkinson reveals how he has written this memoir as a way of saying goodbye to his lifelong friend. At the time of Best’s death, Parkinson was living in Australia, so didn’t get to formally say goodbye. The honesty continues when Parkinson reveals that he too suffered a drinking problem, and so ultimately felt unable to help his friend as he was suffering from dependency on alcohol. There is something here for everyone, love Parkinson, love football, love Manchester United and the realisation that even with the greatest footballing talent, in life we are all just human, and sometimes our weaknesses prevent the full realisation of our potential.

Reportage - Jen O'Bierne
on - 15/11/18

Saturday, 17 November 2018

REVIEW: Gals Aloud: Not The Tucking Kind - Cruz 101, Manchester.

Gals Aloud, the ultimate drag tribute to the girl band Girls Aloud consisting of Nadine, Cheryl, Kimberley, Nicola and Sarah like you’ve never seen them before came to one of Manchester’s favourite gay club Cruz 101 for one night only, with their new show, Not The Tucking Kind.

The talented cast of Gals Aloud are made up of London drag queens Cheryl Hole as Cheryl, Kitty Scott Claus as Kimberley, Margo Marshall as Sarah, Herr as Nadine, Ophelia Love as Nicola and Trayce as Javine. Managed by Christopher D Clegg, who founded Tuckshop (the UK’s first drag management and production company) originally from Preston Chris announced “I’m beyond thrilled to bring the Gals to Manchester”.

The Gals graced the stage to be greeted by a packed audience in the buzzing night club of Cruz 101, wearing stunning black leotards with sexy black boots and looking larger than life and absolutely stunning as they lip-synced to a classic Girls Aloud song followed quickly by the infamous ‘Sound Of The Underground’ that had everyone dancing and singing along.

The Gals took you through the talent show ‘Popstars’ where the original girl band was formed with an hilarious delivery of Javine who missed out on a place in the group singing ‘It Should Have Been Me’!. Each Gal gave stunning solos; Margo Marshall as Sarah fabulously interacted with her hungry audience whilst Cheryl Hole gave renditions of ‘Call My Name’ and ‘Fight For This Love’ much to the audiences delight. Herr as Nadine hilariously took you through the whole debate on her date of birth declaration during Popstars due to her being only 16 and the minimum age requirement was in-fact 18 followed by Kitty Scott Claus as Kimberley coming on stage dressed as Princess Fiona from 'Shrek: The Musical' the role she played in the West End in 2011 and graced us with her unique version of ‘Love Machine’. The Gals closed the first act dressed in dazzling orange and black outfits with their routine to ‘Biology’ Girls Aloud's 2005 hit.

After a 20 minute break the second half commenced and the Gals took you through another set of hits from Girls Aloud including TV appearances, career changes and Musical Theatre roles that they have done throughout the years. The highlight of the evening for me personally was Margo Marshall’s rendition of Fanny Brice in the Funny Girl Musical's soundtrack of ‘Everything’s Coming Up Roses’.

The whole evening was packed with razzle dazzle, glitz and glamour making it a perfect night of entertainment, if you want to see a drag show this is the one to see as it has you belly-laughing, up on your feet and singing along to the fabulous familiar tunes.

Verdict: A great night had by all and a must see.

Reviewer -Katie Leicester
on - 16/11/18

REVIEW: Pierrot Lunaire - The RNCM, Manchester.

Arnold Schoenberg’s melodrama (in the truest sense of being a ‘play with music’) Pierrot Lunaire is, at 106 years old, just as disturbing and radical as it was when Schoenberg wrote it. A cycle of twenty-one songs, in three groups of seven, Pierre Lunaire marries a selection of poems from the collection of the same name written by the Belgian poet Albert Giraud to short, abrasive, atonal pieces of music written by Schoenberg. Pierrot Lunaire occupies liminal spaces in terms of its form (theatrically, the work doesn’t fit the mould of a traditional concert performance but neither does it fit in with a grander theatrical staging of an opera and the vocal performance style is ‘Sprechstimme’ -a halfway place between singing and speech) and content (the setting of the piece is a nightmarish night-time hinterland between sleep and wakefulness or sanity and insanity). The presentation of Pierrot Lunaire by the Manchester Collective at the Royal Northern College of Music made for a striking night of uneasy listening (in the best possible sense of the term).

The presentation was a night of two halves: the first half was an exploration of the background and themes of Pierrot Lunaire, akin to a behind the scenes documentary on a DVD release, presented by BBC Radio 6 broadcaster Elizabeth Alker who guided the audience back to Vienna in 1912 and the state of the world in which Schoenberg lived in at the time of composing (which sounded similar to the state of the UK in 2018; plus ca change) and, through discussion with director Emma Doherty and conductor Tim Burke, examined the piece’s themes of darkness, violence, and mental fragility, and the musical atonality for which Schoenberg became known and which provided a musical counterpoint to the thematic concerns. Doherty talked the audience through the artistic decisions she had made regarding the performance of the piece – it is written for a solo singer (with Lotte Betts-Dean taking on the Sprechstimme duties for the Manchester Collective) but the poems presented numerous characters, including an ‘anaemic washerwoman’, Columbina, and the eponymous Pierrot (a character-type from commedia dell’arte, famed for being the ‘sad clown’) and that Doherty had chosen to present the various characters as the different personalities of the song cycle’s narrator – here called ‘Character A’ – who suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder. Burke touched upon Schoenberg’s composition of the music and how it reflected the growing exploration of the unconscious which was emerging at the beginning of the 20th century with the growing influence of Freud’s establishment of modern psychoanalysis and tied into the text’s concerns with desire and mental fragility. In between the discussions, the ensemble of piano, violin/viola, cello, flute, and clarinets performed brief excerpts of music from the song cycle to present how Schoenberg used radical (for the time) atonality to echo the chaos of the text but still structured his music around counterpoints and motifs to give audiences something familiar to latch on to. The discussion was informative and was ably guided by Alker and was useful for preparing the audience for what was to come; were the audience to have been thrown in at the deep end of the full performance it may have proved to have been too overwhelming.

After a brief interval, it was time for the full performance of Pierrot Lunaire. The set was minimal, with a double bed occupying centre stage, above it was a light with a white spherical lightshade around it, clearly intended to represent the moon, the celestial object which holds sway over the despondent Pierrot, nursing unrequited love for Columbia. Around the bed, the ensemble was arranged, a piano positioned stage right, the violin positioned next to it, stage left was where the cello, flutes, and clarinets were. Betts-Dean took her place in the bed before the ensemble and Burke emerged onto the stage, leafing through a book, looking like someone struggling to settle down and go to sleep. As the frantic opening piano lines of the first song, ‘Moondrunk’ began, Betts-Dean intoned of “The wine you drink in through your eyes…” and it was soon apparent that the poetic imagery, made understandable through an English translation by David Poutney, was a heady mix of Symbolism and proto-Surrealism. Throughout the performance, Betts-Dean’s Sprechstimme performance clearly defined the piece’s protagonist as someone who was on the edge – on the edge of that subconscious realm between sleep and wakefulness, on the edge of sanity itself – and her performance was made all the more remarkable by her direct stares out to the audience, hardly blinking; the way she clambered over and around the bed and frame, full of restless energy; and how she was able to change her tone and intonation depending on which character was speaking: her anaemic washerwoman genuinely sounded weary. The lighting was superb as well, with the light above the bed changing colour as the piece progressed: as Pierrot sung-spoke of ‘red rubies’ the lighting shifted from white to ruby red and would change to blue as depression and despair took hold of the protagonist towards the end of the second, bleaker part of the song cycle’s triptych. Musically, the ensemble were tight and played with passion: special mention should go to violinist and viola player Rakhi Singh doing incredible work with the tension-filled string screeches as madness enveloped Pierrot and pianist Chad Vindin carried much of the piece (it is highly dependent on the piano) with flourishes of frantic, discordant musical lines shooting through each of the twenty-one songs, each one providing a short, sharp shock. The text’s violent imagery, speaking of “lacerated arms” and “swarms of black insects” blotting out the sun, mirrored the turbulent waves of atonality in the music; listeners familiar with the later works of singer Scott Walker, in particular his bleak, brutal 2006 album The Drift, would find common musical and vocal bedfellows within Schoenberg’s work, a fact which attests to the composition’s modernity.

The Manchester Collective should be proud of what was an informative and provocative performance. While Pierrot Lunaire is a highly distressing, disturbing marriage of intense music and haunting poetry, there is something strangely comforting about it. While one cannot help but wonder if the piece would have worked better had it been presented in its original German (given the more aggressive tones of the Germanic language, the poems would have sounded even more unsettling), this presentation of Schoenberg’s work is full-bloodied and, in these turbulent times of Brexit and Trump, is perhaps the ultimate soundtrack to the world of 2018.

Reviewer - Andrew Marsden 
on - 16/11/18

REVIEW: Fool Proof - The Theatre, Students' Union Building, Manchester.

Manchester Musical Revue (MMR for short!), an offshoot of The University of Manchester Musical Theatre Society (UMMTS) performed their self-written comedy revue 'Fool Proof' at the newly refurbished Council Chambers in the Manchester Students' Union building on Oxford Road, which has now been upgraded to and renamed unimaginatively, 'Theatre'!

However that was the only thing which was unimaginative about this evening. During this hour-long non-stop cabaret revue we were introduced to 7 arch villains, who sit around a table playing cards and boasting about their exploits, whilst a further villain acts as an MC to introduce them all to us one by one. They are bored of waiting for orders and want to go out and start murdering people - or whatever it is they do for kicks! When their two inept and drunken agents do finally arrive back, it's totally unclear whose side they are on and who is working for who, and so it's payback time and the comedy ending is totally justified.

Yes it's not much of a plot-line, I'll grant you - but that wasn't the aim of the show. What this flimsy storyline did do however was knit the well-chosen songs together and give reign to these 8 talented performers to unleash their inhibitions and become almost caricatures of cartoon-style evil-doers. I say 'almost' because they never did become completely mono-dimensional thankfully. All of them knew exactly how far they could push their silliness before it became a cardboard cut-out. All were fantastic, and managed to be rounded characters despite the silliness of the premise, and it was a wonderfully entertaining and rather camp, but tastefully so, show. Director James Ward-Mallinson obviously knew his cast well and could trust them with these OTT characters, which all worked excellently with each other.

Each of the 8 villains was given a solo song, as I said, all excellently chosen, showcasing their voices superbly. Starting with the MC singing about villains, to an ensemble piece from 'Beauty And The Beast', 'Kill The Beast' - excellently executed (pun intended!), through 'Broadway Baby', 'T-T-T-Touch Me', 'I Am The Greatest Star', an hilarious re-working of 'Edelweiss', to the incredible rendition of 'Being Alive'.  I think my favourite song of the evening though came from again, a slight bastardising of the original, so instead of 'Suddenly Seymour' from 'Little Shop Of Horrors' it became a gay love duet between the two most unlikely of the 8 to find happiness together!

The pace was slick, the idea fun, the costumes ridiculous (in a positive sense of the word), and the mood high. Not only that but there was a live 12-piece band - yes, that's right TWELVE piece band! And under Daniele Anderle's direction they sounded utterly superb - I could easily have listened to them playing big band and show tunes all night!

The one thing that did let the side down just a little was the lighting. There were times when cast were semi or unlit - [Broadway Baby number and the band assassin especially], but at other times too, the lighting could have been a little more focused. I liked the idea of the 'James Bond' opening sequence circle of light on the back wall.. but that idea was never developed sadly... no James Bond music was played and n-one made anything of it, and so it seemed unnecessary.

Thank you Esme Wade, Harry Newman-Walley, Megan Shone, Carol-Ann McConnellogue, Flo Crompton, Kiera Battersby, Hugh Summers, and Scarlett Gorman for putting a huge smile on my face and sending me home humming songs and thinking silly things!! I can't wait to come back to see Chicago in December!

Reviewer - Matthew Dougall
on - 16/11/18

Friday, 16 November 2018

REVIEW: The Merry Widow - The Lowry Theatre, Salford.

This season for Opera North revolves around the theme of “Before War, and After” to coincide with the centenary of the end of the First World War. The Merry Widow was first performed back in 1905 and is one of the most popular of the operettas composed by Franz Lehár and based on Leo Stein’s French book L’Attaché d’Ambassade.

The story revolves around the extremely wealthy and newly widowed Hanna Glawari (Katie Bird) who had married only a week before her extremely wealthy husband died. All of the money now controlled by Hanna was invested in Pontevedrian, a very small Balkan country with very little means of survival without this. Baron Mirko Zeta (Geoffrey Dolton) is the Ambassador of Pontevedro and fears that if she remarries this will immediately mean her new husband is in full control of her finances. With this in mind he attempts to find a more suitable candidate in his godson, Count Danilo Danilovitch (Quirijn de Lang) who is a drunken womanising bachelor who spends most of his time at the infamous Maxim’s in Paris – he is the standout performer in this production.

The plot predictably unfolds over the course of the evening with many of the characters having complicated relationships both past and present with others who are now potential suitors for Hanna, albeit with motives on the money. Danilo remains a distant character initially, although we soon realised that he was previously engaged to Hanna and this could only end up going his way later in the script.

This is my first encounter of The Merry Widow and although I had done some research on the plot I was not expecting the level of slapstick comedy and almost show tune numbers that were in evidence throughout. The plot was light to say the least and none of the characters were particularly memorable but I don’t think this is unusual in an operetta.

The whole production is conducted in English which made the subtitles on the screens on either side of the stage a little unnecessary for me – I found them a little distracting if anything given that it wasn’t hard to follow the dialogue on stage. I can very much understand the use of screens where opera is being sung in a different language but not for tonight’s performance.

Having said all of that, you can’t help but be impressed by the wonderful staging by Leslie Travers. The set was breath-taking, from the moment the curtain was raised to reveal the ballroom scene, to the recreation of Maxim’s in the third act – simply stunning. The period costumes too were extravagant and imposing, not just the lavish ball gowns but the attention to detail with jewellery made it so visually pleasing. The military costumes were just as glamorous and again the attention to detail was notable.

The story continues to unfold to a predicable but nevertheless satisfactory ending, but not before we navigate through illicit affairs, secret liaisons and mistaken identities. The cast do a very good job in keeping the entertainment factor high but special mention has to go to Quirijn de Lang who was stood out with his impeccable comic timing and mannerisms that John Cleese would be proud of. It was well worth seeing this production just for him.

I think many hard-core opera fan may have been disappointed with The Merry Widow but if you simply look at this production as a piece of theatre and entertainment then you would have enjoyed it just as much as I did. It is operetta, a genre that sits much closer to Musical Theatre and therefore is meant to be one dimensional and inconsequential which is exactly what Opera North’s production was.

Reviewer – John Fish
on – 15/11/18

REVIEW: Closer - Hope Street Theatre, Liverpool.

Patrick Marber’s much performed drama ‘Closer’ is a sensible choice for the first in-house production of The Hope Street Theatre, ‘the first in a series of thrilling revivals’. ‘Closer’ has been around for over twenty years, winning the 1998 Laurence Olivier Theatre Award for Best New Play of 1997 and named as Best Comedy of The Year at the 1997 Evening Standard Drama awards. Comedy may not be the most obvious category for this very British, four-hander play about love, sex and betrayal and was certainly not the focus of this production, but it was not without humour. The elegant styling offers a minimalist set with three broad white vertical stripes that drop from the ceiling and run along the floor. Intermittent images of London landmarks and venues are effectively projected onto the stripes, as are months of the year to reflect the passage of time of around three years. Costume and background music set the production firmly in the dying days of 90s Thatcherite Britain where ‘yuppies’ counted their money, mobile phones the size of bricks were reduced to tiny devices and internet was accessed on desktop computers. There is a restlessness to the characters that reflects the age and the cast capture this well. Low square black stools provide movable furniture arrangements. Only three rows back my sight was annoyingly obscured which is an easy fix by simply moving the action further down stage.

Marber puts everything on the page including some very funny moments which Jake Norton seizes as dermatologist Larry, who first meets the young and beautiful Alice (Amber Blease) when she is brought into A&E by obituary writer Dan (Sam Donovan). Dan has ‘rescued’ stripper Alice, after she is hit by a London taxi. A year later, Dan is in a relationship with a needy (still stripping) Alice but begins an affair with the more mature, independent and equally beautiful photographer Anna (Ariana Fravel). Dan stumbles on Dr Larry in a sex chat room, pretends to be Anna, and sets up a meeting. Anna marries Larry despite Dan’s pleading, but their affair continues. The intense Dan is played by Donovan initially as a twitchy geek wearing spectacles and an unfortunate ‘flasher’ mac, typical of the time. When he makes his play for Anna, we see him much more self-confident. Despite this unlikely sexual success, he’s still an obituary writer and remains the more sensitive of the two, a trait not lost on an increasingly vicious Larry who exacts his revenge on the cheating Dan with only a little hesitation.

The plot explores a male sexual fantasy world of willing strippers, damsels in and out of distress and explicit sex, or rather talk about sex. There’s plenty of sexual tension but it’s very middle class and frightfully British. ‘Closer’ is from the male gaze and a bit dated, which could have been an opportunity to have fun with it, but first-time director Adam McCoy takes it very seriously and sets a ponderously slow pace. Every line is overthought, searching for hidden meaning in an explicit script where the language tells it all. The online chat scene, played out hilariously by Dan and Larry, could have been done in half the time. There was opportunity for more ‘banter’ in the exchanges although I did enjoy Dan’s well timed, ‘this is going to hurt’ remark to Alice before confessing to his affair with Anna, conveying insight to Alice and himself with his careful delivery.

The two women’s roles are written with commendable female insight that sustains the story of dysfunctional relationships. It is through the interconnected couples, and couplings, that the characters uncover their baser human instincts and their darker sides, feeding off one another’s weaknesses to love and hurt in equal measure. Amber Blease plays a convincing stripper-on-her-own-terms, teasing one minute and showing her vulnerability the next. Her rival, the very cool Anna is surprisingly apologetic to Alice for ‘stealing’ Dan but ultimately no-one comes out unscathed. Fravel plays Anna as sophisticated with a low voice that was a little hard to hear at times. It’s a tense play, not as shocking as when first performed in 1997 but still powerful and with a relevant message. I’d like to see more, natural charm captured from the start to provide greater contrast, but this is only the second performance of its first already sold-out run and I’m sure it will come. The Hope Street Theatre is on its way to becoming Liverpool’s first choice for new theatre attracting both local and world-wide performers and audiences and it is a credit to them that they provide a supportive space for new and emerging performing and technical talent to explore their craft.

Reviewer - Barbara Sherlock
on - 15/11/18

REVIEW: Carpe Vitam - The Stoller Hall, Manchester.

A disappointingly small turn-out this evening at Manchester's wonderful Stoller Hall, deep in the bowels of one of the UK's most prestigious music schools, Chethams. I had gone to listen to two new choral works, one of which being a world premiere and the whole evening dedicated to, about, and indeed written by women. In fact it was the first concert in a series of performances and conversations under the title #ThisWomansWork which will bring wonen's musical voices to the fore. Celebrating women, their power and their genius, and their absolute equality with men, is something being promoted and shouted about all over at the moment, especially since we are in the centenary year of The Representation Of The People Act (1918), giving women the right to vote.

The first half of tonight's concert saw Chetham's Vocal Ensemble performing 10 songs, only one of these was the complete ensemble, as they sang unaccompanied the hauntingly beautiful hymn, 'Jesus Christ The Apple Tree' with music by Elizabeth Poston. The other 9 songs were taken by 9 different soloists and accompanied on the piano. Each soloists gave a brief introduction to the song before they performed them. All were 20th century composers except for one Baroque piece which found its way in there; Barbara Strozzi's operatic 'Che Si Puo Fare' (1664), beautifully sung by Alisa McTernan. This section ended with the wonderful Music Hall song of Liza Lehmann declaring that 'There Are Fairies At The Bottom Of My Garden', a delightfully interpreted story-telling by Charlotte Potter.

Each of the soloists from Chetham's Vocal Ensemble were absolutely superb. Their control, dexterity, sonority, and indeed insight into the texts was something to behold; their voices sounding much more mature than their young ages belied. Their introductions were somewhat quiet and would have benefited from a microphone, but once they started to sing, their resonant projection filled the auditorium superbly.  I think my favourite piece in this section simply had to be Saffron Doherty singing Shakespeare with music composed by Elizabeth Machoncy for 'Ophelia's Song'.

Before the interval we then listened to the first of two new choral works. With music by Lucy Pankhurst and text by Helen Pankhurst. The family of suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst are keeping her spirit and memory alive with their choral work, 'The Pankhurst Anthem'. The work is in two parts which are sung continuously. The first takes parts of a speech made by Emmeline Pankhusrt in Hartford, Connecticut in 1913 which gives way to 'Anthem', which speaks for itself. Conducted a capella by the highly animated Tammas Slater this was an interesting piece but in some places it was impossible to hear the lyrics, especially when some members of the choir - The Chetham's Chorale - were tasked into stage-whispering certain words underneath the melody. A little confusing and hard to distinguish. The second part of this anthem however was much more comprehensible and despite its brevity, very enjoyable and excellently sung.

After the interval and we reassembled to hear the title piece of this concert, the world premiere performance of Carpe Vitam [Seize Life], by Laura Rossi with a ten-minute ending called The DerbyshOramCoda by electronic 'sound-sculptor' Henry Dagg.

From the programme..."Carope Vitam goes on a journey documenting women making their own way in he world, including footage of 100 years ago, women working during WW1, the struggle for women's rights to work and votes for women, through to present day with video / projection art created from new and archive footage of great female role models".

The piece was performed by The Chetham's Chamber Choir (and despite their name, they were a large choir!), along with speakers (2 from the choir and two tutors), violin (Sophie Langdon), cello (Miriam Lowbury), electric guitar (Mike Outram), piano (Laura Rossi), and a table full of electronic gubbins operated by Henry Dagg. There was also a live camera operator who filmed the ensemble and choir and overlayed over-exposed black and white 'ghost' images of them performing on top of the multitudinous images already being shown on the large screen behind the choir.

It was a lofty and pompous work, which, trying to accomplish too much and trying ultimately to be too clever, didn't really cohere. The images on the screen were far too busy, unfocused and unclear, whilst the electronic side of Rossi's composition was kept to a minimum and the majority of her music was surprisingly lyrical and harmonic it lacked focus. Singing, speaking, video footage with live overlay, placards with women's names on them, simply diffused the music and the message each time. The text was once again very hard to distinguish in this melee of sensual overload, except when they were spoken. I am informed that the entire lyrics of this piece are taken from quotes and poems from the inspirational women from the names on the placards - which unfortunately I couldn't see at all since the lady camera operator was standing in front of her the whole time.

The final 10 minutes of this piece got even weirder. I am unable to critically analyse this section of the piece since it is beyond my musical understanding and interest. It started with what sounded like bird song on 'oscillators'  which turned into screeching and catawauling which then gave way to an electronically produced choir and a rather jointy jolly melody, before changing again into what sounded like the opening music to Jeff Wayne's War Of The Worlds, then more screeching, more manipulation, a hand held megaphone-shaped gong, and diminuendo to finish. It was all extremely weird, extremely experimental, and undoubtedly highly proficient and clever, but completely out of my sphere!

Sadly Carpe Vitam failed to impress, and after a hugely enjoyable first half, this was at least for me, a let down. I left feeling unfulfilled by this new work, but gladdened that I had been present at its premiere, and knowing that the students of Chethams would have given this work its definitive performance! There are many more concerts at The Stoller Hall in the #ThisWomansWork festival, which runs until mid March next year, and there truly is something for everyone, so if tonight;'s concert wasn't your thing, the next concert may well be!

Reviewer - Matthew Dougall
on - 15/11/18