Article Title:Review: GALS' A Night Out
Author or Credit:Jay Bennie
Published on:25th November 2014 - 06:31 am
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Story ID:16057
Text:A Night Out GALS (Gay And Lesbian Singers) Saturday 22nd November, matinee performance Choral director Stephen Bowness GALS' twice-yearly concerts are a long-time staple of the Auckland glbti entertainment and community scene. For years they have been demonstrating the generally excellent results which can be achieved by a group of enthusiastic singers who work hard and also have a good time together. The basic format is, like most such recitals, a series of songs chosen to play to the choir's strengths, to shine a spotlight on those with particular talents and to try a few new things, leavened by a guest performer or two and all linked together by a theme and an MC. Their latest concert format, presented at the weekend, morphed into even more of a 'show', a kind of cabaret or variety concert, with short skits and a greater emphasis on broader entertainment. Sadly it didn't really work. The GALS singers have undoubted skills in the choral arts but in writing and acting a series of linking sketches they strayed into Waiting for Guffman territory too often for comfort. Worse, the addition of the rather corny sketches - which were about the only thing that reflected the 'A Night Out' theme - seemed to be at the expense of their core singing. At the Saturday afternoon matinee things felt ragged and under-rehearsed, with even some of the usually stronger members of the choir kicking the show off with a ragged and tentative start. Amongst the rag-tag grouping of performances there were, however, a few moments of excellence, or hints of excellence to come. Highlights included a neat performance of Ain't Misbehaving with the addition of tap dancing and Gordon Palmer's beautiful flute accompaniment to One Night In Bangkok. The rapid-fire medley of (mostly) movie themes was creditable, as was a rather good version of Pharrell Williams' Happy. The men of the choir were strong and cohesive in Bring Him Home and the women were melodic and smooth in Dream a Little Dream. These two performances were reminders of how good GALS can be. The stand-out of the show was Shane van Weelie's astonishingly beautiful singing of Tonight You Belong To Me. The song choice was just perfect for van Weelie's pure, clear and almost pitch-perfect voice. Quite stunning. And there was a hint of something wonderful to come soon after when van Weelie and Daniel Hodder were paired up for some all too brief solo vignettes. The perfect matching of the timbre, lyricism and phrasing of their singing must, please, be showcased to even better advantage at GALS next concert. Good on GALS for regularly experimenting with the format and content of their concerts but this time there was too much emphasis on gimmicks which in the end neither complemented nor enhanced their core stock in trade of powerful ensemble singing leavened with items sung by smaller sub-groups. It was a brave attempt at a new direction which rather missed the mark. - Jay Bennie Jay Bennie - 25th November 2014    
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