"An Evening Of Christmas Cheer"
Nottingham Arts Theatre
Nottingham Arts Theatre
You know when you have an advent calendar and every door you open, you get a treat? Well, this last month has been like having a theatrical advent calendar, but instead of getting a chocolate on the opening of the little doors, I get a little more Christmassy on every door and behind every door is a December theatre treat. From the first panto of the year, right up to this, my last show on 2019, it felt and looked a lot like Christmas after every show.
This showcase was like a present you didn't expect; a thank you from the Arts Theatre, which was most gratefully, and enthusiastically received by everyone in the audience tonight.
The show combined the talents of the adults as well as the Youth Group, who I saw last night, so was great to see a few sections from last night again from them. A mix of Christmas songs, both traditional and pop, and readings which really brought out the best of Christmas feelings in every one.
From the opening stormer of "Merry Christmas Everyone" through to the closing carols "O Come All Ye Faithful" and "Hark the herald Angels Sing", they took in Mariah's "All I Want For Christmas", Wham's "Last Christmas", Chris de Burgh's "A Spaceman Came Travelling" and "Seasons Of Love" from the musical "Rent". Traditional fare such as "Silent Night", "O Little Town Of Bethlehem" and "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer", plus reminders that Christmas is not always a happy time with "We Are The World" and "Do they Know It's Christmas".
There were also lighter readings telling of the lead up to Christmas and after Christmas with the New Year diet in view and a panto fave from Mike Pearson with his recipe of how to make the perfect Christmas cake!
So who were the donors of this wonderful Christmas gift?
Bertie Black, Christine Boothe, Glenise Ellis, Amanda Hall, Barry Hobbs, Jacob Fowler, Mike Pearson, Emily Ridge, Marie Rogers, Alison Sheppard, Roy Smith and Emily Townsend joined forces with Will Kent and Jessica Royce's Nottingham Arts Theatre Youth Group for this very special presentation.
So many highlights in this evening's show. I've always loved the harmonies of "Seasons Of Love", there was a joyfulness in the Youth Group's Glee inspired version of "Here Comes Santa Claus", anything Jacob Fowler tackles is always special, and his version of Joni Mitchell's "River" was spine tingling. Every carol sounded like a choir, Bertie's folky sound in "Spaceman Came Travelling" and his rockiness in the "Do they Know It's Christmas" Bono piece. For me Alison Sheppard can do no wrong in my eyes (my ears shout "ditto"), Alison and Emily T's version of "Do You Want To Build A Snowman" from "Frozen" was gorgeous, and I loved the "A Politically Correct Christmas" reading, as well as the other readings, and then there was the Youth Group's version of "The Power Of Love" sent the chills up my spine.
The sound was excellent, thanks to Rob Kettridge and the lighting managed to create a lovely frosty, but at the same time cosy atmosphere, thanks to Oliver Read.
One other thing that I noticed as well was in the final carol, there were three of the Youth Group at the front swayed along with their arms around each other, which really summed up the spirit of local theatre and Christmas. They all looked as if they were having a great time on that stage and that made us want to be party to that great time. I for one was thankful for my invitation to this party, and I am now ready for Christmas.
It's been a very good year for the Arts Theatre with their luscious new seating and carpets, as well as the excellent theatrical fare they have shared with us all, and I feel that 2020 is going to capitalise on that success and the amazing talent that grace the stage, as well as behind the scenes.
Thank you for allowing me to spread the word of all that you do. I can't wait to shout about the incredible shows that are planned for 2020.