Reviewer: John Roberts
Emma Howe, Karen Howe, Hayley Guild and Shaun McCourt have taken the now over-populated Sunday night concert format in London and made it for the better, by literally raising thousands of pounds for Great Ormond Street Hospital. When You Wish Upon a Star is the sixth concert from the giggin4good team and arguably one of their best yet.
As you can probably tell from the title (which has become a trademark number for the House of Mouse) tonight’s concert was a celebration of all things Disney – with a few extras sprinkled in for good measure. The venue was sold out with a range of audience members from children to grandparents, the whole event was family friendly and the 7pm start time perfect for getting everyone home in time to sort themselves out for a busy week ahead!
Compared by the affable Benjamin Vivian-Jones who opened proceedings with a rather tongue-in-cheek spoof of Beauty and the Beast’s ‘Be Our Guest’ which set up the evening brilliantly while also telling some of the more ignorant audience members how they should be expected to behave.
With so many people on the bill it would be impossible to name check every single performer who gave their time for free and admirably so, but stand outs on the night included; Marcus Ayton singing a very cheeky rendition of ‘Kiss the Girl’ from The Little Mermaid, Producer/Performer Shaun McCourt gave a heartfelt ‘If I Can’t Love Her’ from Beauty and the Beast, – the emotion that came across was tangible and several member of the audience were spotted wiping tears away. Disney’s biggest animation to date Frozen also featured heavily with a charming rendition of ‘Do You Want to Build a Snowman’ sung by Leanne Jones and Maria Coyne, and Lauren Ingram and Steffan Lloyd-Evans pitch perfect ‘Love is an Open-Door’ really hitting the spot.
Julie Atherton brings (what is fast becoming her trademark) Michael Bruce’s ‘Portrait of a Princess’ to the fold – with a vivacity and power that completely steals the show and shows the upcoming stars also on the bill how to do it with ease, and style. Likewise Jeremy Legat’s smooth jazz influenced ‘Time of Your Life’ from A Bug’s Life brings real clarity and precision to the lesser known of Randy Newman’s Disney catalogue. He also charms his way through a delightfully prim ‘Jolly Holliday’ from Mary Poppins with Caroline Keiff. A slight move away from Disney, is brought by the team showcasing new writers and tonight that came from the new musical Shadows on the Sun by Omri Lahav, Robert Gould and Jimmy Granstrom – this dark and brooding tale of life within a darken earth simmers with tension and the three songs showcased really whets the appetite for more – especially when delivered with such conviction of delicacy like that of Carolyn Maitland. A golden voice that just pulls you in and makes you want more… this is a voice to watch out for!
But the real star of the show is Marc McBrides stunning musical direction and arrangements. Here given a powerful performance by a faultless 10 piece orchestra full of the richness of strings and delicate woodwind. This is a creative who is not only honour’s the original source material but quite possibly at times improve on them with his own authoritative stamp. One would only have to question the over-amplification of the orchestra through a PA, surely they didn’t really need it?
Giggin4Good pulled out all the stops on When You Wish Upon A Star’ and a fantastic evening was had bay all!
Reviewed on 18th May 2014