fri 27/01/2023

One Enchanted Evening, Glastonbury Abbey review - concert of West End show tunes | reviews, news & interviews

One Enchanted Evening, Glastonbury Abbey review - concert of West End show tunes

One Enchanted Evening, Glastonbury Abbey review - concert of West End show tunes

Magnificent backdrop of ruins for fundraiser

A large crowd enjoyed an evening of song and dance from West End musicals Jason Bryant

On a normal bank holiday weekend there would be festival events held in the grounds of Glastonbury Abbey.

But in this anything-but-normal year, choreographer and director Andrew Wright instead gathered together a group of people who live in or who have an association with Somerset to donate their talents for free to put on a musical fundraiser. 

Local artistic bigwigs Michael Eavis and Sir Cameron Mackintosh gave their backing, the latter with permissions for songs from his productions, and the former with something more prosaic – as MC Jane Milligan said: “Thanks for the bins.”

There was a touch of Royston Vasey as she declared that One Enchanted Evening was a concert put on by Somerset people for Somerset people, but it was all in a good cause – to raise money for health charities in the county – and she duly led a round of applause for NHS workers for their sterling work during the Covid pandemic.

The Abbey ruins were a magnificent backdrop for a thoroughly pleasant evening of West End show tunes, performed by an array of musical theatre performers, and Wright brought real theatricality to the evening as he made use of the setting. Nearby church bells heralded the start to the show as opening artiste Georgia Lennon, singing “The Hills Are Alive” from The Sound of Music, made a striking entrance by walking from the floodlit ruins across the grounds to the stage, where the orchestra sat within a large transparent marquee.

Thankfully the weather behaved itself (albeit not temperature-wise), and provided its own light show in the sky – a pink sunset followed by a hazy almost-full moon. Matt Haskins' stage lighting, meanwhile, had several wow moments.

The evening moved along at pace with 19 songs from Cats, Thoroughly Modern Millie, South Pacific, Kinky Boots and The Lion King (complete with an impressive animal parade by youngsters from a local dance school), among others.

It may be invidious to single out performances, but the ensemble's “One Day More” from Les Misérables, Jacob Fisher's “Any Dream Will Do” from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and “Circle of Life” from The Lion King sung by Natasha T Green, EJ Alden and Ben Macgillvray were particularly rousing.

Seven hundred tickets were snapped up in no time, a sign that audiences are hungry for live performance after being denied for so long. The weather window for outdoor shows is narrowing and the industry is losing jobs at an alarming rate (Mackintosh himself has announced massive redundancies in his organisation), with no end in sight. But performers remain ever hopeful; Milligan's farewell was: “We will be back soon.” Let's hope she's right.

Thankfully the weather behaved itself, and provided its own light show in the sky

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