Festive 15/16Live Music/GigNorth WestReview

The Overtones: Good Ol’ Fashioned Christmas – The Lowry, Salford

Reviewer: Rebecca Cohen

They made their break after being spotted by a Warner Bros. Records’ scout while working as decorators. Now years on, The Overtones have a platinum album under their belt, an army of loyal fans and plenty of television appearances to their name.

The five-piece group’s latest venture is seeing them spreading festive cheer across the country with a bit of Good Ol’ Fashioned Love – and it’s certainly beginning to look a lot like Christmas at The Lowry now Timmy Matley, Lachie Chapman, Mike Crawshaw, Mark Franks and Darren Everest have brought a bit of Doo-Wop to town.

Featuring a whole host of Christmas classics, including Driving Home For Christmas and Santa Claus is Coming to Town, this is a show with a real party feel. The arena atmosphere has been transported into a theatre setting, with audience members up on their feet, taking photos, singing along gleefully and dancing to their heart’s content. This is a real celebration, but for the traditional theatre-goer it may not quite meet expectations – as was evidenced by a small number of ticket-holders who decided to leave during the first half and the interval.

The performance also features an array of The Overtones’ recognisable hits, such as Why Do Fools Fall In Love, Saturday Night at the Movies, and Gambling Man. Particularly enjoyable moments come from the more up-tempo numbers Shake A Tail Feather and Do You Love Me, which are strong enough to make even Scrooge smile.

Harmonies are, as always, on point, and choreography, for the most part, remains slick and fun. However, while the show certainly leaves you on a high, it also left Monday night’s audience waiting, starting half an hour behind the advertised 7.30pm start. There was also a struggle with Lachie’s microphone towards the end of the first Act, which unfortunately left the iconic Bass singer looking, and most likely feeling, uncomfortable.

And while fans do hang on to the group’s every word when they speak, it would be great to see more of each member’s personality. Their chit-chat in between songs is lovely but predictable, and could be improved with more banter and individual stories. The set, as well, has room for improvement, with just a live band, an Overtones’ backdrop and Christmas trees being used for decoration.

But despite the few flaws, this is a real crowd-pleaser of a production that is a stylish and soulful addition to the most wonderful time of the year.

Reviewed on December 7th 2015

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The North West team is under the editorship of John Roberts. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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