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‘Marionettes’ Tributes…

By Anne Hilton Tuesday, July 15 2008

click on pic to zoom in
SING OUT LOUD: A scene from the Marionettes' performance....
SING OUT LOUD: A scene from the Marionettes' performance....

…to Leonard Bernstein, Broadway, André Tanker, David Rudder and Ella Andall – beginning with Bernstein and the challenge (to the audience) of his “Chichester Psalms” No 1 (Psalm 108 v 2, Psalm 100) sung in Hebrew.

Speaking personally, I need to hear this several times over to appreciate a piece of music so far removed from the familiar “classic”, “serious” music of my usual listening pleasure. I hope the Marionettes will keep this piece in their repertoire; in the meantime I’m considering buying a recording of the work from Amazon.com – I hope this tells Gretta Taylor and the Marionettes how much I, for one, was impressed by their performance of the work.

“Candide” is probably better known to the middle-aged audience. The Marionettes gave both “Life is happiness indeed” and “The best of All possible worlds” everything they’ve got, both vocally and in acting the part.

The highlight came when Feryal Qudourah sang the solo “Glitter and be gay”; there were some initial nerves with a touch too much vibrato in the opening phrases but she soon gained confidence, impressing with her command of the intricacies of the score. In “Make your garden grow” she was joined by Marlon De Bique for a duet that brought the house down.

From the unknown to the less familiar to the Bernstein that everyone knows – “West Side Story” with “America” sung with verve and drama, the male voices split between the rival gangs, Jets on one side, the Sharks on the other; “Tonight” with solo by Tahirah Osborne concluded the Bernstein Tribute.

After the first ten minute interval came the tribute to Broadway, beginning with Tahirah Osborne singing “Summertime” from Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess” – but with no baby in her arms – one wonders why? We plunged back into the less familiar with Flahery/ Ahrens’ “Ragtime” – the 1998 musical that was overshadowed by “The Lion King” in the same year.

I feel I know so little of “Ragtime” it would be unfair to comment; however there’s a scribbled note “shrieking” on my programme against the last piece, “Till we reach that day”…

The Youth Chorale took the stage next to present six pieces from the 2002 musical “Hairspray”, based on the 1960 movie of the same name. There was no programme note on the young lady who walked across the stage spinning a hula hoop about her waist – in true 60’s fashion, however, Aneka Audain, Tahirah Osborne and Arielle Rostant gave all they got, together with the choir, to that rousing number “Mama, I’m a big girl now”.

So energetic was their performance that they – and we – needed a second, 15 minute interval before we were treated to arrangements by Desmond Waithe of the music of three local artistes: David Rudder’s “Calypso Music”, “The Hammer” and “Bahia Girl” with soloist Kwasi Noel. Noble Douglas Dancers dominated the stage to the music of André Tanker’s Morena Osha (with soloist dancer Jacqueline Smith) and Sayamanda, both, of course, backed by the Marionettes.

The programme ended with two of Ella Andall’s songs “Bring Down the Power” (with Masimba) and “Rhythm of the People”.

As usual, our thanks to Gretta Taylor, the Marionettes, the orchestra and dancers for a first rate production of their “Tributes” to Bernstein, Broadway, André Tanker, Ella Andall and David Rudder.

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