REVIEW: Dreaming of Christmas – Brighton Gay Men’s Chorus

Graham Robson December 16, 2017

Christmas cheer was in full swing at the Brighton Gay Men’s Chorus’ (BGMC) annual Christmas show, Dreaming of Christmas, in the atmospheric surroundings of All Saints Church, Hove, a fine choice of venue for this show.

The production, which was completely sold out, celebrated life, music and the Christmas spirit with stunning vocal harmonies, touching segues and memorable solo numbers making it a real night to remember and one that we’ve come to expect from the chorus.

The chorus’ ability to meld contemporary pop tunes with the more traditional is why they’re one of the top choirs in the country and this show really did have it all with the chorus operating at full power bringing sharp vocals and buckets of personality to an eclectic, varied set.

Musical highlights in the first half included the charming Fabulous Baby from Sister Act; a haunting and tremulous rendition of Kylie Minogue’s Confide in Me; and a raw Everybody Hurts, which saw soloist Sadao Ueda ring every drop of emotion from the material, his tender vocal capturing the mood of the number perfectly – certainly one of the evening’s most touching moments.

No Christmas concert would ever be complete without a healthy sprinkling of snowy Christmas crackers, from the slightly camp to the traditional, and the chorus didn’t disappoint with the peppy Christmas Bells Medley complete with Jingle Bell Rock that did just that; a whimsical White Christmas performed all woozy and warm; and the toasty Christmas Song by soloist Patrick Gallagher whose voice resonated beautifully during the immortal line, “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…”.  

The BGMC pride themselves on celebrating community spirit (wonderful to see in these Grindr days) and bringing people together with their mutual love of music. The chorus not only opened their hearts and voices, but our minds with repartee veering from typical camp humour to more hefty, social topics – combatting isolation and tackling the commercialisation of Christmas were on the agenda but never forced down our throats.

BGMC, presently at the top of their game, are led by their multi-talented Artistic Director Marc Yarrow who introduced the special guest for the evening, Fake Bush, who, brought some extra seasoning, vocal dynamism and a different flavour to the show. The two Kate Bush songs, WOW and December Will Be Magic Again, were performed with real aplomb but it was the chorus who knocked it out of the ballpark with a thunderous Running Up That Hill – a song so epic that it fits the chorus’ wall of sound like a glove.

The evening was rounded off beautifully with a truly epic rendition of Whitney Houston’s One Moment in Time – a stunning performance and fitting finale performed with real gusto ensuring this is one moment the audience will struggle to forget!

If you’re interested in joining the Chorus, then head along to their New Members’ Evening at Brighton Unitarian Church, New Road, Brighton on Tuesday, January 9 from 7.30pm.

For more information about Brighton Gay Men’s Chorus, click here: