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Broadway Hits thrills to bits

PUBLISHED: 16:13 25 March 2010 | UPDATED: 17:11 30 June 2010

Broadway Hits

Chorus of St Cecilia, Gorleston Pavilion

MATTHEW Hardy's spring concert of show tunes is always an annual treat, but this year's was even more so, becoming an evening of visual as well as vocal excellence.

Broadway Hits

Chorus of St Cecilia, Gorleston Pavilion

MATTHEW Hardy's spring concert of show tunes is always an annual treat, but this year's was even more so, becoming an evening of visual as well as vocal excellence.

You can always rely on the Chorus of St Cecilia under his direction to bring out the best from Broadway hits; the silky smooth blending of harmonies in Only Make Believe from Showboat and the three numbers from Mama Mia being good examples. The Abba Waterloo also gave the band a real chance to shine with musical director John Stephens' jazzy accompaniment on the grand piano together with Alison McEwan on bass and David Collingsworth on drums.

The junior chorus never fails to delight the audience. With sparkly tops and angelic faces they can do no wrong. Their solo numbers were well received before being joined by the men's chorus for the ever popular Cole Porter You're Just In Love (I Hear Music) which is so cleverly two songs intertwined as one.

The evening had a very strong line up of soloists. With the search for a new Dorothy for Andrew Lloyd Webber's Wizard of Oz starting on TV Charlotte Bullen's Over the Rainbow couldn't have been more apt and it was sung beautifully with the choir. Ed Wilson gave a spirited Get To Me To The Church On Time and Peter Thompson tackled the enchanting Come What May from Moulin Rouge.

But it was the three principals who were the stars - Kirsty Lewis, Judi Mars and Neil Francis - each of them vocalists who could really interpret a lyric and bring out something special. Mike problems in the first half on Friday were a bit of hindrance but this was soon overcome after the interval. For those who couldn't get tickets for Les Miserables at the Theatre Royal (and we were many) Neil Francis' items from that show were a compensation, and he was really at home with powerful pieces from Chess in which he has appeared several times, most recently with the Lowestoft Players.

Kirsty Lewis simply became Sally Bowles when she took Cabaret by the scruff of the neck, and she never looked back. And as for the vocal range and skills of Judi Mars! The unusual A Piece of Sky from Barbra Streisand's Yentl and the two contrasting Bond themes were an undoubted highlight.

The added dimension to all of this was the impressive staging with glittering gold and silver drapes combining with superb lighting to make this concert an undoubted feast for the eyes as well as the ears.

By Tony Mallion

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