The Military Wives Show at The Hippodrome - 8/10
WITH two number one albums and a number one Christmas single as well as appearing at the opening of the 2012 Olympics, the Military Wives Choir has acquired quite a fan base.
On show at the Hippodrome was The Salisbury Plain Military Wives Choir, one of 75 Military Wives choirs across the UK, and it's my (obvious) bet that was who the crowd had turned out to see.
So it wasn't a surprise when I overheard a lady in the loos at the interval whisper to a friend she felt cheated.
It wasn't that they weren't any good (they were fantastic) it was that they didn't appear on stage until after the interval.
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The overview of the show did say there would be a band involved but I reckon no one thought they'd take up the whole of the first act. And again it's not to say they weren't good – they were brilliant. But it's down to expectation and what you've signed up to – I was expecting to predominately listen to those lovely wives. Overview authors please take note!
I'd taken my father along as a guest and he looked alarmed by the big band swing jazz tunes from The Good Guys orchestra from Lincolnshire. It's just not his kind of music at all. Luckily it is mine and I adored their lively energy. They're a very talented bunch of musicians with plenty of pizzazz. Living up to their name they are good guys indeed and their tunes are jam packed with the feel good factor. They played uplifting jovial tunes from Cole Porter, Phil Collins, Nina Simone and Glenn Miller. It was a great sound and toe tappingly good.
Andy Eastwood who popped on stage afterwards, showcasing his amazing ukulele skills, was jaw droppingly talented. His version of The William Tell Overture left me agog. With his cheery, cheeky charm, he was an absolute gem.
But it was only after the interval my dad relaxed as the expected and highly anticipated Military Wives took centre stage. Dressed in glamorous black gowns they were utterly mesmerising. Moving songs and emotional lyrics were sung out with solemn conviction and dignity. Their harmonies were beautiful and the sentiment was perfectly pitched.
Their performance was meaningful, there was nothing frivolous about it, and it carried a weightiness of the desperately deep sadness of war. It was moving and absorbing.
A solo performance of Bring Him Home from Les Miserables brought tears to my eyes.
Many of the sentiments of the songs like Wherever You Are are very beautiful and certainly provide food for thought. Finishing with Sing, the song that captured the magic of last year's Jubilee, was an uplifting end to a sobering, sensitive second half that no doubt sent the audience away feeling delighted to have witnessed such a heartfelt evening's entertainment, if a little miffed they didn't have more of it!