Christians On Top Of This Year's Review.

2012 A year for Great Theatre.
Theatre Severn.
July 2012…….December 2012

 

Well as promised from Amsterdam, here am I back and ready to review the fun I have been having bringing my news and observations to you.

I joined LoveShrewsbury.com in the summer and my first review was for Noel Coward’s, Volcano. It was excellent and Jenny Seagrove stole the hearts of many audience members. Beautifully set and wonderfully done.

As a long time critic of tribute bands I was worried that the Nineteen Eighties extravaganza might fall into that category and just give us rehashed electronic sounds by people who would look better on a cruise ship. But no, not a bit of it. It was an amazing night and I like so many others sang out loudly as 99 red balloons fell from the ceiling. Great show.

The Flower Show gave us our usual treats and the weather held. It was great and the firework show was the best I have ever seen. Shame that if I wanted to have a cup of tea to watch the fireworks then I would need to dig deep to find the extremely large amount of cash they were asking for. However, all that paled into insignificance as the committee were really pushing the boat out and brought in the Oyster Band to perform before the fireworks. It was lovely but John Jones, lead singer of the band, found it quite a challenge reaching the seated part of his audience who were more that seventy yards away. Don’t worry John, they loved it.

In September we said goodbye to Max Bygraves and I thought it fitting to write a little obituary to say farewell to him and point out another link with our past had been lost. Sad loss.

In the Autumn I reviewed Joseph’s Amazing Technicoloured Dreamcoat, that was wonderful, Cirque de Ciel Shanghai kept us on the edge of our seats with their daring antics and the audience lapped it up. No one died but the exhilaration one felt when their tricks increased in danger was quite something.

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra gave us a wonderful performance and even at £35:00 a ticket the theatre was full and people were moved and touched by the beauty of the whole event.

The worst of the year for me was a show called, Forever in Blue Jeans. At the time I dismissed it as cruise ship entertainment, in fact it might be better on the Calais to Dover Ferry as it’s so much shorter in time than a two week cruise. They were very good but the concept and show was so anachronistic I was pleased to be on my way home from that one. I also gave Cream of Clapton a bit of a lashing too. I won’t stand by and see people steal someone’s entire act and call it a tribute. I call it plagiarism and don’t take to it too well. I also, surprisingly left half way through the Mid Wales Opera’s rendition of Don Giovanni. Oh my, they were spot on and performing as opera should be performed but they sang it in English and it just didn’t translate too well. When it reached the point of a baritone simply singing, “Here he is now coming down the road,” I realised the story and the writing was so unbelievably prosaic that I was relieved to escape.

Ray Mc. Vay didn’t come in for  the above bashing. He owns the name and tunes of The Glenn Miller Orchestra and they were amazing. I was thinking how the originals must have raised spirits in the terrible dark days of the Blitz.

The highlights of the Theatre read like a who’s who on the modern British circuit scene. I so enjoyed The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist. It was a wonderful show and the acting and singing was superb and I was sad when it ended. I could have watched so much more. The Haunting with James Roach was utterly breathtaking too and I realised that Shrewsbury is now able to offer such top class theatre. I heard that Ken Barlow came to watch it, (William Roach) as his Grandson was the star. I’m sure Deidre would have been proud too. Great show it was.

The Keneish Dancers with their modern dance show also took my breath away as I watch the genius of the choreographer being danced so beautifully by this highly skilful troupe.

For Pathos Michael Morpurgo read his wonderfully successful book, War Horse whilst Jon Tamms and Barry Coope provided song and music. Tamms was the singing star of the earlier episodes of Sharpe. His voice, like velvet, covered us all with a warm feeling and there was a real moment when the three men on stage and the large audience, connected in a way that was quite unusual. I loved it and realised that Hollywood have really missed the point with their interpretation of the book and the beauty of it was restored to me.

As for music I saw a lot of good stuff and very near the top was Show Of Hands. I have seen this band many times and worked with them in the past. The were highly entertaining and incredibly solid. Steve Knightley’s voice is just so smooth and easy to listen too. Their support act of Len Podolak and Matt Gordon playing Appalachian music was quite charming.

And so we come to my highlight of the entire year. If we could play a fanfare right now we should do it. Myself and the entire audience of the Walker Theatre were moved by the fantastic show given by,The Christians.We were all delighted to hear all the old hits like, The Bottle, Hooverville, What’s in a word? And of course, Harvest for the world. They were brilliant. Garry Christian is singing better than ever and the harmonies were so beautifully spot on that it was a privilege to be there. I was lucky enough to meet Garry at the end and found him to be a modest man who gives out instant warmth. This reflected on stage in the act and again all those who were there shared something very special that night. I sadly heard one person say they didn’t go as they thought it was going to be a night of bible readings and prayers. She was of the new generation and missed the eighties. Maybe some kind of name tweak might work for them so people don’t think that. Because I have to say, this reviewer seriously advises you to check them out whenever you can they were brilliant and win my, Owen Lewis Event Of The Year Accolade.

I know I am lucky to be able to bring my stories to you. My theatre company too played the theatre in 2012 and will be returning in March. Come and meet us. I won’t be reviewing that night it is just something I can’t do. However I am looking forward, as ever to see my work being performed.

Happy New Year to all my readers and all my friends; let’s make 2013 the best one yet.

 

Owen 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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