Left - Nick Davies. Cover - Jacqui Scott
The West Australian Symphony Orchestra has once again provided a delightful night of entertainment for Perth music lovers.
Joining forces with conductor Nick Davies and vocalists Jacqui Scott and David Shannon, WASO presented The Best of the West End as part of it Ernst & Young Contempo Series.
The program featured popular musical theatre numbers from many well-loved musicals including Mary Poppins, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Lion King, Les Miserables and Miss Saigon.
Creating a beautiful ambience the stage was dressed with chandeliers hung from the roof of the Perth Concert Hall. These changed colours throughout the performance along with the curtains hung between the gorgeous organ pipes. I liked it when the backdrop turned suitably green for a performance of Defying Gravity from Wicked.
Travelling all the way from England it was clear that the Perth audience was indeed in good hands with Davies, Scott and Shannon who have a list of notable credits to their names.
Davies addressed the crowd at the start of the show, telling them he had just finished working as the Musical Director for Mary Poppins at the Prince Edward Theatre in London before kicking off the night with a performance of Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Trained at the Royal College of Music, Davies has worked with numerous European orchestras and has a string of West End credits to his name including Oklahoma!, The Sound of Music, Annie Get Your Gun, Phantom of the Opera and My Fair Lady.
Scott’s career kicked off when she won the first ever BBC talent show Rising Stars. Since then she has played lead roles in Evita, Miss Saigon, Cats and Jesus Christ Superstar. During the first Act there were a couple of moments where she made some minor blunders, but she was quick to recover and by the second half she seemed more relaxed and in the swing of the show.
Shannon is currently playing Jean Valjean in Les Miserables at the Queen’s Theatre. He has also played lead roles in Macbeth, Sweeney Todd, Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon and Cats. Boasting a large vocal range Shannon made the most of it with gentle soft vocals one minute and powerful masculine ones the next. My only criticism of Shannon was that his choice of suit in the second half left members of the audience snickering amongst themselves, lets just say it looked a size too small!
Leaving the best til last Scott performed Memory from Cats while Shannon sung The Music of the Night from Phantom of the Opera. The audience showed their appreciation with gusto, clapping with great enthusiasm and demanding an encore at the end of the show. Still the audience’s enthusiasm did not extend far enough to convince them to stand and dance along to a final number from Hairspray – save one poor woman in the front row who did stand up and was probably oblivious to the fact she was giving a solo performance!
The orchestra itself was impeccable - which is extraordinary given they had only three days of rehearsal together! A truly remarkable achievement that is a testament to the talent of our WA musicians.
The Best of the West End
Conductor Nick Davies
Venue: Perth Concert Hall
Dates/Times: 7.30pm, Friday 15 & Saturday 16 October, 2010
Tickets: $70 - $85
Bookings: 9326 0000 | www.waso.com.au | www.bocsticketing.com.au | 9484 1133