Review: Classic songs come to life onstage

So many performances these days seem to be getting bigger, flashier, more colourful, more dramatic, more incredible.

If that’s what your after, The Showbiz Evening of Rodgers and Hammerstein Classics would not be for you.

Yet there is something magical about going back to the simplicity of music.

And this was music beautifully presented and flawlessly performed, with a full orchestra, incredible soloists and a chorus of 120 voices.

It was an old fashioned style performance – the full orchestra dominated the stage, conductor front and centre in immaculately shined shoes. The chorus stood in rows, 120 white faces, while the soloists came and went in suit jackets and fairytale gowns.

The soloists were incredible, each bringing strong voices and powerful performances.

When surrounded by a chorus of 120 other voices, stealing the stage cannot be easy – but soloist Greta Casey-Soley managed it, bringing huge energy and fun to ‘June is Bustin’ Out All Over’ from the Carousel.

The chorus pieces, ‘I Whistle a Happy Tune’ from The King and I and ‘My Favourite Things’ from The Sound of music, got so many heads nodding and toes tapping in the audience it added an extra layer of percussion.

Conductor and musical director Richard Marrett brought incredible energy to the stage throughout. Each piece flowed together so well it was easy to get lost in the music, and the show seemed over far too soon.

Even after the curtain fell and the audience spilled onto the street, the excitement was infectious. People lingered, heading down New Regent St for coffee or gelato, or gathered in laughing, chattering groups on the footpath.

One tall young orchestra member stood leaning on his instrument case on the street, listening solemnly as two beaming white haired ladies exclaimed over how much they loved the show. One couldn’t contain herself and bounced up and down on the spot joyfully.

And that said it all – more than 70 years after some of these pieces first hit the stage, they have lost none of their magic.

The show continues Saturday and Sunday at the Isaac Theatre Royal, with a performance on Saturday at 7.30pm, and a matinee on Sunday at 4pm. More information can be found at www.showbiz.org.nz

Comment