Tuesday 4 July 2017

A pop blast from the past triumphantly returns, plus a British musical dramedy...

26th June - 2nd July 2017

Some live music and some musical theatre this week...

Nick Heyward

On Tuesday night we ventured over to The Water Rats at King's Cross fo a special intimate show by former Haircut 100 man Nick Heyward, which was being filmed for broadcast on music channel Vintage TV, and was in support of his forthcoming new solo album 'Woodland Echoes'.

The Water Rats is a small standing room only venue, at the back of a pub, however has been host to many huge acts over the years and was perfectly suited to this show.

Aside from the half dozen or so new tracks, which were great, he also played a few solo hits and of course his Haircut 100 favourites, most notably 'Love Plus One' and 'Fantastic Day.

Backed with a full band, including a saxophonist/percussionist/backing singer and a female backing singer too it all sounded great too.

This was a return to gigging new material for Heyward and his slight trepidation about showcasing the material was evident, but his personable attitude won through as the material was also so strong.

After the filming was finished they ran through a few of the songs again, in
 a slightly more relaxed manner, and also played a few other tracks which they were not prepared for by handled admirably.

The show is due to air in August, when the new album is also released, which can be pre-ordered on PledgeMusic here.

He's also due to play the 229 in London in July, so if you fancy catching him live there's your chance, and it's well worth it!

The Girls

Our only other outing for the week was on Thursday night, and to the Phoenix Theatre on Charing Cross Road to catch a performance of the soon to close musical The Girls, based on the story and film 'Calendar Girls' with songs by Gary Barlow.

Those familiar with the film will know the basic story line, concerning a group of WI members who decide that for their yearly fund raising calendar they're going to do something a little different and make a nude calendar, to specifically raise money to buy a new sofa for the family room at the hospital which looked after one of the character's late husband who died from cancer.

The action is all set in Yorkshire, and the show doesn't shy away from it's very British setting, even basing some songs around it, which probably actually works to the shows benefit.

The show has been running for less than a year, and is rumoured to be off on tour after leaving the Phoenix, which will probably work well for the show, as despite it's quite impressive Yorkshire hills set its should work in pretty much any space, and should allow the show to reach the audience which will appreciate it most.

The film, coupled with the stage play and now this musical means that the story has, if anything been over exposed perhaps, and may be the reasoning behind it's relatively short West End residency, despite such a pedigree on the writing side of things, however this shouldn't detract from it's many positives.

The songs by and large are well written, and superbly performed, whilst the script has plenty of quite British comedic flourishes and larger than life characters to carry it and maintain the audience's interest.

We weren't typical of the majority of the audience, which were on the older side, however we quite enjoyed it nonetheless, and the performances certainly added greatly to a story which could have come across as a little schmaltzy, but actually displayed plenty of heart.

The performances, especially from Joanna Riding and Claire Moore, were universally excellent and it's a bit of a shame that the obvious passion for the show hasn't translated to a longer run here, but it's strengths should mean a life on tour and a healthy following I'm sure.

It's due to close on the 15th of July so get your skates on if you want to catch it!

Next week sees plenty of live music, so until then, get inspired...

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