Theatre Review: Brighton Gay Men’s Chorus @ The Dome

December 18, 2012

Christmas cheer was in full swing at Pull A Cracker, The Brighton Gay Men’s Chorus’ annual Christmas show at the Brighton Dome in aid of the Sussex Beacon.

Magical yuletide favourites, with a sprinkling of pop and rock classics, were performed to a backdrop of baubles, whilst a twinkling Christmas tree was seasoning to the evening’s festive flavour.

The Choir, dressed in festive red shirts and sparkly waistcoats, opened with The Pet Shop Boys’,  It’s A Sin, which was followed by Joni Mitchell’shauntingly beautiful icy Christmas-song-for-all-seasons, River. The chorus were indeed on top form for both numbers.

O’ Holy Night was performed verbatim, the initial frosty verses building to a spine-tingling blizzard whipped up by some glorious harmonies. This was male voice singing at its best!

Casting aside the traditional, the Choir delved into songs, which while not Christmas songs per say, do evoke feelings of change (Man In The Mirror), togetherness (Rule The World), and loneliness, which was tackled with Bonnie Tyler’s Holding Out For A Hero; the harmonies, rumbling like thunder, added depth of tone and complemented the pleading of the verses.

Whilst it’s brilliant that the Choir are performing at one of Brighton’s biggest venues, the acoustics often jangled and harmonies were sometimes lost during the more complex arrangements with Last Christmas and Baby it’s cold outside suffering especially while Rosie Ash’s, Pat Butcher earrings were to blame for clatter in her radio-mic during the hysterical and brilliant rendition of  Don’t Rain On My Parade.

Whilst The Dome may not be the coziest of venues for a Christmas concert, it was ideal for the big final numbers, the extra space was well utilized during The 12 Gays of Christmas (sic), which included such nuggets as 11 Mincers Mincing, 8 Friends of Dorothy, 6 Broadway Showtunes and Fiiiiive Olympics Rings.

Two disco classics finished the concert; Donna Summer and Barbra Steisand’s No More Tears and a pulsating I Am What I Am allowed the choir to open up and show what a fine ensemble they are. Neither numbers are typical Christmas favourites, but their feel-good factor was contagious and sent the enthusiastic audience home very happy!

When the show was rooted in choral tradition it sparkled, but Pull A Cracker was best when the choir steered clear of  the comedic interludes and did what they do best, sing! sing! sing!

Brighton Gay Men’s Chorus