REVIEW: Peak Performance at Chatsworth House

Chatsworth House
Chatsworth House
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Few things can be more uplifting on a rainy evening than songs from the shows performed in opulent surroundings.

Peak Performance lived up to their name last night with a spectacular concert in the exquisite theatre at Chatsworth House.

Stealing a march on a professional production of Fiddler On The Roof which hits Nottingham next week, the company launched their performance with songs from the musical.

The 11-strong Fiddler collection got off to an impressive start with a brilliantly performed, roof-raising rendition of Tradition by the company which delighted the packed audience.

Highlights included the beautiful singing by Lucy Kent, accompanied by Kelly Gibbons and Alex Hazard, of Matchmaker; a lovely interpretation in song, mannerisms and dance of Tevye’s best-known song Rich Man by producer Mike Spriggs and a deeply moving Sabbath Prayer led by Mike Spriggs and Joan Hopkinson, the latter lighting and extinguishing a candle.

Younger members of the company got their chance to shine too, with soloist Josh Holmes giving a praiseworthy performance of Miracle of Miracles.

This adaptation of Fiddler may have been slimmed down to fit the time constraints of the concert but it lost none of its power to move and entertain an audience.

After the portrayal of impoverished villagers living under the threat of impending Russian revolution, the accent was on glamour and entertainment in the second half.

Gorgeous gowns and satin gloves, sparkling tiaras and feathered head-dresses for the ladies, formal evening suits and white gloves for the men made a spectacular opening to the Ivor Novello collection.

All the usual suspects were there: We’ll Gather Lilacs was one of the high spots, being beautifully sung by the chorus; Market Fair was confidently performed by Sue Spriggs, Diana Leivers, Julie Fletcher, Jon Davies and Colin Tarrant; and a comical rendition of Mother Came Too, was aired by Colin Tarrant, with a little prompting from accompanist Chris Flint.

Debi Alvey’s beautiful voice lent itself to Highwayman Love and the 13 men in the chorus got in on the act by each kissing her hand.

A kiss also sealed husband wife Richard and Sarah’s impressive performance of Easy To Live With, which was another gem in the Novello selection.

Special praise goes for youngest soloist of the night, 13-year-old Darcy Thorpe whose enchanting singing in Fly Home Little Heart really tugged the heart-strings. Teenagers Charlotte Barlow and Eleanor King also drew admiration for their performance of Wings Of Sleep.

The concert gave the audience two opportunities to sing along, encouraged by musical director Nick Stacey and led by Rob Hall for Rose of England and Jon Davies for Keep The Home Fires Burning.

A fabulous night of song in a fabulous venue - shows don’t get much better than this.

Peak Performance will be staging the Novello and Fiddler double-bill at Chatsworth House again this evening, Saturday, September 14. To check ticket availability, contact Mike Spriggs on 01246 233475.

GAY BOLTON