Brett Herriot Review

Big Band Does Valentines, BBD Productions, Virtual Review:

Big Band Does Valentines:

**** 4 Stars

“ A Performance fuelled by love”

Edinburgh based BBD productions are keeping ultra-busy following the release of their Big Burns Night Bash in January they are back with a new offering especially for Valentines day! This time its all about love and the emotions that love can bring, they deliver in style over this 45-minute virtual production.

Opening with the utterly gorgeous “Blair Gibson” and his well-polished energy filled take on Jackie Brown’s hit “Higher and Higher” it is a rousing, full throated belter of an opening setting the stage well for what lies ahead.

Following this are “Henry Shine” & “Ailsa Biggerstaff” with the song “First Impressions” from the rather obscure “First Date a musical comedy” which did have a short run in 2019 in London’s Other Palace. Shine and Biggerstaff deliver a flawless performance both vocally and in acting performance.

While theatre land awaits Andrew Lloyd Webbers new production of “Cinderella” BBD takes us to Disney’s production of the story and the song “So this is love” Ceili O’Connor delivers a stripped back but utterly beautiful performance of the song that equally charming as it is beguiling.  Speaking of Lloyd Webber “Rachel Flynn” is up next with a stunningly operatic performance of the title song from “Love Never Dies” the sequel to “Phantom of the opera”. “Flynn has a stunning voice that’s displayed in a way audience haven’t seen before, it’s a true must-see moment of the production.

Changing tact but retaining the incredible flow is “Kamen Brown” a gifted vocal impressionist who performs “Nat King Cole’s” hit “L.O.V.E” this is triumph of variety from Peter Griffin via the Muppets to Elvis Presley and so many more making vocal appearances “Brown” has a big future in live performance of his vocal impressions.

Next up is “Funny Girl” with “Rosie Houlton” bringing the razzle dazzle vocals to the role of “ Fanny Brice” in her take on “My Man”. “Houlton” delivers the power vocals needed for this showstopper!

Moving onwards to Jonathan Larson’s rock opera “Rent” and the song “Take me or leave me”  with “Rebecca Ellen” & “Megan Grace” playing Joanne and Maureen, respectively. “Grace” has portrayed Maureen on stage previously and it shows with a totally flawless performance and “Ellen” matches her every step of the way.

Changing direction and slowing things down is “Chris McLeish” and his honey-soaked vocals going to work on “Elton John’s” “Your Song”. Its a beautiful rendition and gives colour and depth to the over all production and “McLeish” is on point as usual. Keeping the change of direction flowing is “Danielle Logan” who performs “Lets be Bad” from US tv hit “Smash”. This up-tempo number really allows “Logan” to show the range of her voice, its joy to see a performer explore the depth of her talent and she smashes this number literally.

Musical Comedy performer and BBD producer “Scott Coltman” is next taking on Victoria Wood’s cherished “ The Ballad of Freda & Barry” it’s a huge risk to not only perform this comedy masterclass but to then add additional lyrics and material could well be a step too far. “Coltman” succeeds by shrewd comedy judgement. This is a performance “ Wood” herself would love.

Getting into the home straight of the production is “Evie Rose Lane” taking on the challenge of “Natural Woman” famously performed by the late “Aretha Franklin” although the song from the pen “Carole King” has had many interpretations. “Rose Lane” makes the song her own blending power vocals with suitable restraint that makes the performance a joy to watch.

To bring the curtain down are two company numbers, starting off with “Can’t Help Falling in Love” from the Elvis Musical “All Shook Up” the vocals are flawless and special mention must go to  “Tommie Travers” whose editing skills set a new bar of excellence allowing all 12 performers to share the screen with complex harmonies intact. All that is left is the mash up “ Shut up & Raise your Glass” from “ Moulin Rouge the Musical” which is coming to London’s Piccadilly theatre later in the year. Its fitting and fun celebration song to close the show.

Big Band Does productions have delivered another stunning and fun production to lighten the darkness of the lockdown, although none of the music is “big band” in either its orchestrations or delivery its clear where the company able to stage the production live on stage then all the choices would lend themselves perfectly to their mantra of Big Band.

For now, support the company at the Charity “Acting for Others”  as this is a joyous 45 minutes of Love!

BBD Productions present, Big Band Does Valentines go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5J3fcVMfHuw

Please consider a donation to Acting for Others!

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