Article Title:Review: GALS' sweet harmony and saucy wit
Author or Credit:Jay Bennie
Published on:3rd November 2007 - 10:57 pm
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Story ID:5192
Text:GALS: Don't Fence Me In Conductor: Stephen Bowness Centennial Theatre, Epsom. Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 November 2007. There are at least three talents it takes to be a GALS performer... a sense of fun, a halfway decent singing voice, and dedication, all in equal measure. All were on display this evening as GALS filled the Centennial Theatre at Auckland Grammar with melody and an infectious sense of humour. Billed as a 'non-auditioning' choir, GALS presents two full choral concerts a year, generally blending standard choral pieces with artfully arranged popular tunes and a camp sense of humour. Tonight's show, Don't Fence Me In: Songs from the House, Heart and Garden, was perhaps a little on the sombre side, slightly at odds with MC David Steemson's cheeky linking patter with more awful puns than a TV news broadcast. This is a choir that sounds best when it is in full voice, with some of the voices not having sufficient strength to carry sustained quiet singing, but once they got to their a capella version of Tchaikowski's Waltz of the Flowers half way through the first half, one of several voice-only pieces, they really didn't look back. The sweetness which could have lifted the earlier items emerged and found its wonderful peak in Music of My Dreams which was just beautiful and showed what magic GALS is capable of: rich harmony, well modulated voices, spot on phrasing and a sweet, lyrical sound. This was inspiring stuff. Tonight was the 'world premiere' of a gently humorous piece, Old Custard, by Nadia Simpson and David Hamilton. There is definitely something charming and wistful in the piece but tonight's performance felt a little under-rehearsed. No doubt it will pop up again in the future with the added confidence and polish GALS is capable of. Similarly, the borderline Aaron Copeland's atonal arrangement of House On The Hill at times showed that this choir is capable of performing some damned tricky material. GALS is known for its irreverent sense of musical humour and they hit the mark tonight with their re-worked If I Had A Rich Man homage to inner city gay ghetto real estate, and a show-stopper from South Pacific using gaudy bathing caps, a few Esther Williams-style bathing caps, and the largest communal towel this reviewer has ever seen. Don't Fence Me In is a colourful, infectious, melodious mix of charm and talent, it's a good evening out and as a bonus the timeless Edwina Thorne belts out a few jazzy standards combining vocal polish with still incredible dexterity on the trumpet. There's only one more performance - Sunday evening from 5.30. Don't miss it. Jay Bennie - 3rd November 2007    
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