Article Title:Review: GALS has plenty to delight and satisfy
Author or Credit:Jay Bennie
Published on:1st November 2008 - 11:45 pm
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Story ID:6683
Text:It's been a year since I was able to attend a concert by Auckland's Gay and Lesbian Singers, aka GALS. Nothing much has changed, it's still two hours of good entertainment, the choir still features some impressive work in its repertoire and the guest performers are chosen carefully to leaven what might otherwise become a surfeit of group harmonies. It has to be said that, at tonight’s opening night of their Climb Every Mountain concert, sub-titled ‘GALS’ favourite things’, as good as the choir was, the stunning guest spots very much provided the highlights of the evening. Soprano Maria Treadaway has a commanding physical presence, a superb voice and her solo delivery of Empty Chairs and Empty Tables from Les Miserables made me ache to see a few powdered and wigged aristos guillotined live on the spot. Her delivery of My Favourite Things easily banished all memory of Julie Andrews’ cloyingly saccharine performance in The Sound of Music, and her Non so piu from The Marriage of Figaro was a confidently delivered ‘plum’ which begged the question why Treadaway is not heard more often. Radio NZ Concert please take note. If tonight's audience warmed to Treadaway it positively embraced the remarkably talented Ben Tapene. Released from his role of resident pianist at Purple Bar, Tapene wowed the house with a lushly arpeggioed bravura jazz performance of Fats Wallers' Ain't Misbehaving and the Gershwins' Summertime. This was standout stuff and worth the price of admission all by itself. And, on the subject of standouts, alto Margaret Robertson ably tackled The Sound of Music's quiet killer of lesser singers, Climb Every Mountain. Even the distraction of GALS twittering 'nuns' could not spoil what was a still, majestic and beautifully modulated performance. But what of the GALS choir itself? As usual there were highlights and rougher moments, with the highlights in the definite majority. Generally this choir is more successful with slower and broadly harmonised pieces. In common with many choirs it tends to lose the sense of passion and energy in pieces such as In the Mood and Baby I'm in Love. But their He Ain't Heavy He's my Brother was just beautiful, as was Hine e hine. And Danny Boy was tight, beautifully balanced and quite, quite moving. As usual GALS treated a few songs with gleeful disrespect: Gilbert and Sullivan's We Sail the Ocean Blue got the men’s camp treatment, followed by the women’s overly literal presentation of Close to You. For my money the women won that round. Overall it was a great couple of hours presented with verve and charm which deserves more than the half full Centennial Theatre which greeted the opening night. It's on again tomorrow, Sunday, at 5.30pm, so treat yourself to a fun and generally high quality show which will delight and satisfy. Jay Bennie - 1st November 2008    
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