Saturday, 5 September 2015

"Our Moment" Zak Scott & Friends
Duchess Theatre, Long Eaton.

Following Zak's charity concert from last year, "Our Moment" went one better and Zak and his very talented friends performed over two nights, hopefully raising twice as much money this year. The recipients of the raised funds being the Duchess Theatre and Maggies Cancer Care Fund.

It's always a pleasure being entertained by young, talented singers and performers, and when you know some of them quite well, you also appreciate the hard work and effort that goes into putting on a show of this calibre.

Both openings of part one and two showcased the collective performers with "The Stars look Down" from "Billy Elliott" and part two with a track from "Avenue Q" called "It Sucks To Be Me" and from these openings we were treated to separate performances from the individuals. Zak's name is in the title of the show but he's a very generous performer allowing each artist to shine individually and with several duets.

Last year Zak seemed to focus on the more serious side of musical theatre and took time to look as if he was comfortable on stage. This year was such a turnaround because from the moment he stepped on stage he looked as if he owned the place, comfortable and at ease which really made me feel at ease watching him. He also mixed in some lovely uptempo and comic performances like his opening solo "All I Care About" from "Chicago" and "Well Did You Evah" as a duet with Oliver Wheddon, from the musical "High Society". He didn't forget that he is also a class act when it comes to those emotional musical theatre songs like "Why God Why" from "Miss Saigon" and a piece that really suited his more contemporary vocals from McBusted called "Beautiful Girls", accompanied by guitarist Chris Renshaw.

Oliver, who also appeared last year in the fund raiser also has matured so much from last year. His voice has grown ever stronger and variable. Taking in opera. "Lascha Chio Pianga" through to a rather cheeky "Let's Face The Music And Dance" and "When I Get My Name Up In Lights" from "A Boy From Oz" as well as duetting with Tayla Evans on "Suddenly Seymour".from "Little Shop Of Horrors". Tayla also gave a gorgeous performance of "My House" from "Matilda"

So many classy performances, two of my favourites came from Emily-Rose Gent who performed "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" and an equally beautiful version of "With You" from "Ghost" which literally brought a tear to my eye it was so emotive. Emily-Rose made me believe every single word of both songs, she didn't just sing them, she performed them.

Nice to see Curtis Salmon perform again and his voice too has matured well. Curtis has a very distinctive voice which complemented his duet partner, Amy Parker perfectly.

Georgie Bond also did more than sing her songs, she performed them, especially "Climbing Uphill" from one of my favourite musicals, "The Last Five Years" and also another emotional performance of "On My Own" from "Les Miserables". Georgie has a wonderful tool in her voice and sounds perfect for musical theatre and I'm sure we'll get to hear more of in the future.

Holly Pilgrim was on fine form showing both sides of her vocals with Rihanna's "Take A Bow" and "Over The Rainbow" from "Wizard Of Oz".

There was also dance from Cara & Rosie Verney, a sublime version of "Sister Act" from the musical of the same name from Emily Horner, Showcase Drama showcasing some very talented youngsters in scenes from "Annie" and "Jungle Book", directed by Elaine Clemerson, and all kept running smoothly by compere Mr David Allen, reprising the excellent job he did from last year. I even laughed at his jokes... "ex tractor fan"... you had to be there!!!

Backing these performers was a four piece band who were excellent, under the direction of Leon Wade There was Dave Dallard on keyboards, Chris Renshaw on guitar, Jeff Widdowson on bass and Adam Baskil on drums. Combining to make a well rounded and full sound. they performed on the stage and didn't manage to drown the performers once.

So many other people also went into making this special night run smoothly, from the excellent choreography of Cara Verney to the management of the invited and VIP guests, Nicky Wheddon, as well as the front of house staff managed by Sarah Charlesworth, the set building, which was classy, unfussy and practical by Roydon Charlesworth to the lighting man, Tom Olding. So many people did so many wonderful unseen jobs on the night which also goes to show what an excellent tight knit family they all are at the Duchess Theatre.

Thank you, every single one of those stage performers tonight for putting together a brilliant show for an amazing cause. Keep on having those big ideas, Zak, because as an audience member and someone who knows you, we love those big ideas, and it's great to see such positive energy from an age group who so often receive negative press.

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