Actually Gay Men’s Chorus latest production, ‘The Music of The Night’ on Friday, April 26 featured excerpts from many of the finest musicals ever written including West Side Story, Sunset Boulevard, Miss Saigon, Rent, Les Miserables, Chess, Man of La Mancha, Tell Me On Sunday and Love Never Dies.
The secret behind any successful concert is in the programming and this concert had it all. Highs, reflective moments, inspired moments and a big finale. The show was just the right length and left the audience leaving wanting more. I certainly did.
The choir were in great voice from the start of the performance and created two special magical moments during the evening I will remember for a long time.
Your Eyes from Rent, sung by Brian Gannon with the chorus was a supreme triumph. Brian lived every moment of the number and clearly engaged the audience with his memorable performance.
The programming of Jose Alarcon as the soloist in The Impossible Dream from The Man of La Mancha was pure genius and the highlight of the evening for me. He sang the opening in Spanish and brought a lovely vulnerability to the number I have never heard before. The swelling chorus behind him pitched the performance at the highest emotional level.
My personal favourites from the chorus on the night was the Miss Saigon Medley, so suited to the acoustics of St Andrews Church and the stirring selection from Les Miserables which never fails to make me feel good. This is when the choir are at their best singing rousing anthemic numbers from musicals. They have the music in their bones.
Guest soprano for the evening was Samantha Howard whose soaring vocals were featured in the opening from Phantom of the Opera, With One Look from Sunset Boulevard, Prima Donna from Phantom of the Opera, Unexpected Song from Tell Me On A Sunday and Love Never Dies. Samantha is a huge favourite with the chorus and the audience and her vocals are ideally suited to a male choir accompaniment.
Soloists from the chorus were given an opportunity to shine during the evening. These included: Mark Hyndman with Sunset Bouvlevard; Vincent Youngman, Ian Groves, Alan Garner and Patrick Bullock with numbers from Miss Saigon; Malcolm Grant and Michael Wates with numbers from Les Miserables and Tom Slater and Chris Tippett with numbers from Tell me on a Sunday.
Special mention for the choirs new accompanist Coady Green a formidable Australian pianist. He is a fine, musical accompanist who listens and follows the performers. His piano solo from Chess showcased his technique while Carrie Louise Knight danced to the music beautifully. Coady is a great addition to the Actually team which is expertly directed by Jason Pimblett. Jason is responsible for most of the choirs choral arrangements that are responsible for the choirs hallmark sound.
Colin Blanchflower played keyboard and Theo Antonie percussion.
The show was introduced and compared by former Monty Python actress Carol Cleveland.
The choirs next production Tainted Love takes place during Pride week on August 1 and 2 at St Andrews Church, Waterloo Street, Hove.
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