Review: Peak Performance light up Hassop Hall with songs from the shows

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Songs from the shows reflected the ample talents of Peak Performance in an entertaining night of musical theatre.

The company’s first concert at Hassop Hall last night attracted a large audience to a variety show of numbers from Miss Saigon, Chess, Kiss Me, Kate and My Fair Lady.

Arranged in two groups either side of a small stage on which soloists and small groups performed songs and sketches. the ensemble was conducted by Nick Stacey and accompanied by Joanna Allatt.

It was very much a show of two halfs - the first saw the company dressed in black with red corsages and scarfs for the songs from Miss Saigon and white accessories for the Chess selection. After the break, the performers emerged in their finery with evening dress and opulent ballgowns complemented by sparkling jewellery.

The true gems were the songs in which the company showed a passion for their art. Debi Alvey brought out the tenderness and beauty in Now that I’ve Seen Her in the solo from Miss Saigon. Conductor Nick Stacey took on vocal honours to lead the 35-strong choir in an awesome and spine-tingling perforce of Bui Doi.

Jo Howland’s fabulous rendition of Someone Else’s Story and Bob Hall leading the uplifting Anthem were the high spots of the collection from Chess.

The mood lightened after the break with sketches and songs from Kiss Me, Kate bringing shades of comedy to the evening, courtesy of Joan Hopkinson’s performance of I Hate Men and Bob Hall and Colin Tarrant singing Brush Up Your Shakespeare. Lovely solos from younger members Eleanor King airing Why Can’t You Behave?, Darcy Thorpe singing So in Love and Kelly Gibbons performing Always True To You showed the future of Peak Performance is in safe hands.

Young singers Jayne Miller and Paige Sides Pearson looked so pretty in wine-coloured dresses as they sang Wouldn’t It Be Loverly to launch an assortment of songs from My Fair Lady. Freda Chapple brought humour to the song Just You Wait, Diane Leivers displayed controlled vocals and perfect timing in Rain in Spain and Mike Spriggs proved a one-man tour de force with his engaging Get Me to the Church. The chorus number Ascot Gavotte was accompanied by the distant sound of horses hooves, which, I think, was provided by the tapping feet of men on the back row.

The company will be reprising this programme at Hassop Hall on Thursday, October 1, at 7.30pm.