Alexander O'Neal Pleases The Loyal!

Alexander O’Neal

Theatre Severn

November 10th 2017

Alexander O’Neal was about as apparent as the ham on a Vegetarian sandwich.  Selling the audience short, O’Neal did  around 10 minutes in the first half of his show. His backing singers, who will remain anonymous because O’Neal chose not to introduce them, filled the rest of the half. They chose a bland and prosaic medley whilst people debated whether that was Alexander O’Neal we saw fleeting past?

However to show consistency he managed only fifteen minutes in the second half before again handing -over and bowing out shouting, “Goodbye Shrewsbury you have been marvellous.”  By the exit of some of the show-goers during his set it was obvious he had not!

In O’Neal’s defence his first half was plagued with technical issues. He was having microphone trouble. It was difficult to hide. So in a, throwing his toys out of the pram kind of move, he became angry and lost focus. Eventually and this isn’t seen often, he thumped the mike in disgust. Boom reverberated around a confused auditorium full of people who weren’t too sure what was happening.

Technical difficulties are not new to concerts and I can only imagine, given the level of fame of Mr. O’Neal has he will have faced those troubles before. One wonders if he always handles situations like Violet Elizabeth Bott!  It was uncomfortable and it was noticed.

On the subject of sound as it is crucial in concerts, the engineers didn’t quite get it right. The band on account of its size drowned out any vocal and made a patchwork of voice and music; not a cleverly weaved and beautifully crafted patchwork, it was more like a load of string on the floor with no way being untangled. The two factors the vocal and the music competed for supremacy with the music winning hands down.

One got the impression that Alex doesn’t like to sing too much. He might sing one or two lines in a verse but then he speaks the notes that give him trouble or relies on his very talented backing group.

One was aware that O’Neal had a big hit called “Criticise,” in the Eighties, but it is hard to recall what else he did. Sadly the sound in parts was poor enough that one is still a little bemused and wondering was there more than just the one hit?  The whole back line was too big. Theatre Severn has a wonderfully big stage and it accommodates everyone beautifully. Their use of space was part of their undoing  they were as such a big band so very close together, consequently when O’Neal’s mike was breaking up he couldn’t determine through the reverb where they were in the song. Nightmare eh?

The positive aspect of this concert was the loyalty of his fans. They love him and he enjoys that. They shout to him and he’ll answer and he likes to be in control of his audience.  If he says stand.. up they go. They danced, laughed, clapped and cheered. With a mean average age of 45 its seems the O’Neal fans know how to have a good time. He engenders a sense of party and his devotees love it.

To song writing O’Neal is however, what William Mc.Gonagal was to Victorian poetry. (Check him out) Its not a great compliment but is…”I’m fed up coz all you ever do is criticise” a good lyric?

The fans adore him and forgave him much tonight. He didn’t earn forgiveness and one day will be in trouble for doing such a tiny percentage of his show. If he does this regularly I am sure people will Criticise him and he will be fed up!

This is Two Star Review

Owen J.Lewis

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Owen Lewis Owen Lewis

Owen Lewis was born fifty something years ago in the land of the black puddings. For the geographically challenged that is in Lancashire. Moving to Shropshire From 1970 Owen was brought up in Church Stretton. His first real job was in radio. After starting on BBC Radio Shropshire he became known on Marcher Sound, broadcasting throughout the North West for several years. After a university degree course in Theatre, Owen became an actor and went on to play "Pirate Bill" in The Alton Towers Hotel. He also made several television appearances. Returning to university he took his PGCE enabling him to teach. That saw him on the Essex coast as a drama teacher and latterly as a Creative Educational Liaison Officer making films and creating new teaching methods to employ on children in need of more help in their fundamental learning skills. Published playwright Owen ultimately wants a house boat in Amsterdam to focus on his work as Playwright and Poet.

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