Review: The Magic of Christmas at Dartford's Orchard Theatre
The Magic of Christmas
Dartford's Orchard Theatre
The Magic of Christmas annual charity concert held a packed audience spellbound at Dartford’s Orchard Theatre on Sunday.
The Belvedere Concert Band and guest singers and dancers were this year performing in aid of EllenorLions Hospices and Kent Air Ambulance, aiming to top the £9,000 raised for local charities in 2012.
The 45-strong band conducted by musical director and compere Guy Bennett showed their versatility with tinsel-tinged music sprinkled between classics from musicals by top flight singers and high energy dance routines.
The musicians’ subtle renditions of Santa’s Journey, Midnight Sleighride, Secret Agent Santa and A Fireside Christmas soon stirred those us not yet in the festive zone. Another highlight was a dramatic rendition from the King Kong soundtrack.
The singers were as good as any in the West End. Sarah Denton started the glitter ball rolling with songs from Chicago, including All That Jazz, as dancers Laura East, Zoey Hudson, Saskia Leese, Sam Mason and Jill Taylor added some razzle dazzle.
Next came Chess with Matthew Hawes singing the Anthem and Alison Jull and Sarah Denton teaming up admirably for I Know Him So Well.
Guest professional Gari Glaysher drew a few wolf whistles when he walked on stage wearing a kilt and went on to demonstrate his formidable vocal power with Largo from The New World Symphony and Con Te Partiro, more commonly known as Time To Say Goodbye.
The Phantom of the Opera followed in a duet with Amanda Harkett for a spine-tingling All I Ask of You, followed by Dave Hughes’ haunting The Music of the Night.
The dancers, choreographed by Debbie Smith and Zoey Hudson, closed the first half with some nimble steps from Lord of the Dance that would impress Michael Flatley.
After the interval the musicals theme continued with songs from West Side Story, Dreamgirls. Five songs from Les Miserables were the icing on the Christmas cake.
Sarah Denton’s I Dreamed A Dream, Dave Hughes’ Stars, Gari Glaysher’s Empty Chairs at Empty Tables, Alison Jull, Sarah Denton and Mike Gawadzyn’s A Heart Full of Love and the whole ensemble for One Day More left us on a euphoric emotional high.
Plaudits all round for the performers and great credit to all those involved in the organisation including production manager Andy Smith, who played drums, director David Maun and musical director Guy Bennett, making his last appearance with the band.
Next year’s event will be held on December 20.