first night

Coming Home: A Concert

Charlie Keable enjoys a cross-genre charity concert that explores the meaning of 'home'.

With Coming Home: A Concert being a one-night performance, I realise that this review takes more of the form of troupe feedback rather than aiming to inform potential audiences. With this in mind, I have very little criticism and have merely written up my comments on the performance.

The musicality shown by this troupe was absolutely outstanding. Each individual continually showed that they were extremely talented, performing a wide variety of songs and often playing their own accompaniment. The first song very much set the tone for the rest of the concert, offering up fantastic harmonies and a beautiful vocal blend, before we were later treated to a series of individual performances. It is difficult to give special mention to any performers because each one shone in their own right. However, I particularly enjoyed the performances of Sadie Fitch Kempner, Shona Graham and Hattie Lucas-Clements. While this may have been entirely down to personal taste, I found these performers to be particularly engaging. The comedic elements of Fitch-Kempner’s and Graham’s songs certainly helped, although it was their acting throughout the songs that, in my personal opinion, set them apart ever so slightly. Graham’s song was absolutely hilarious, and she was thoroughly convincing in her role, as was Fitch-Kempner, who gave a delightful vocal performance. Hattie Lucas-Clements completely blew me away with her absolutely smashing voice, and I would really like to see any further performances of hers. Each performer took special care to look directly at the audience, instantly capturing our attention, performing their songs in an extremely genuine manner despite their sometimes over-the-top nature. If the company were to do another concert (and I highly recommend that they do), I would advise the performers to engage slightly more with the audience to really pull us in.

It is of course difficult to quantify each individual considering the greatly varying styles of each. However, I did sometimes find some issues with the more acoustic numbers. Due to the style I often found that a lot of the words were lost, which was slightly disappointing, especially considering the very well adhered-to theme of ‘coming home’. I also noticed a few singers using a lot of mouth manipulation to reach the higher notes. I’m unsure if this was a feature of the style or was just poor technique, but in either case it is only a very slight technical issue that can be easily corrected.

I would also like to say a couple of things about tech. While I appreciate the logistical nightmare that was choreographing the use and placement of microphones, it occasionally looked a little awkward, and quite a few times the performers ended up on a lower quality microphones, resulting in them being slightly overpowered by the band. However, this was only a very small technical hitch and impacted on the performance only ever so slightly.

Now that I have got those more negative comments out of the way, apart from mentioning that Alex Bromwich in particular seemed to struggle with moving microphones, I would like to congratulate each and every performer on the outstanding job they did last night. It was a truly beautiful selection of music and the talent on show was absolutely amazing. I must also add that I am very set in my ways as a musical theatre performer, so it is unsurprising that it was the musical theatre numbers that I enjoyed the most! This was merely a personal preference and the opinions of those that I spoke to afterwards were completely differing—as I said, it was near impossible to set apart any performers. I was utterly shocked by the level of talent that the company had, and considering that the evening was for such a fantastic cause, I would ask and urge the company to do this again. I would more than happily attend again, and would love to see each performer do even more. My massive congratulations to you all and I truly hope you reach your fundraising goal.

12 December 2016

The views expressed in the reviews and comments on this page are those of the reviewer, and are not representative of the views of DST or Durham University.
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