Reviewed by Emma Wasson
When we arrived at the Opera House it was fairly quiet with a few people taking a drink in the bar, but most people had already gone straight through to their seats. The Opera House wasn’t full to capacity, however I’m sure that Valentine’s Day had something to do with that, and I think that the show clearly attracted an older audience, as being under 40 I was clearly one of the youngest viewers by far. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I can honestly say that I had a fantastic time, and enjoyed the music and the performance itself.
We were treated to a real mixed bag of ‘Allsorts’ during the show last night, from performers to the tunes they performed. From the super cheesy Jonathan Ansell former G4 band member, the beautiful Celtic Ladies and not forgetting the comical Dublin’s Irish Tenors.
The show began with the Celtic Ladies singing a short rendition of Danny Boy, and then they introduced themselves as Natalie, Nadia and Amelia and then proceeded to sing several more songs, which included several Scottish tunes being sung with no backing music at all, which showed off the 3 girls vocal capabilities, with 2 members clearly taking on more prominent singing roles during the performance choosing songs which showcased their individual talents. During many of the songs the ladies constantly used harmonies which were a joy to listen to.
The evening’s entertainment was predominantly vocally based, with no fancy backdrops or props on stage, just several movable spotlights that changed colour during the songs and a smoke machine, which was used to add atmosphere during several of the songs. Even though the emphasis was on the performers’ vocal abilities, each song performed had been carefully choreographed from the slower numbers where the Celtic Ladies were stood in set positions to the more fluid energetic numbers which involved all the acts singing and dancing around the stage together.
The Celtic Ladies achieved a stunning classy look throughout the evening with several costume changes, from long flowing ruffle dresses to shorter numbers, their matching belts, shoes, bracelets and necklaces added that touch of sparkle and glamour to the evening.
We were then introduced to the Dublin’s Irish Tenors, 3 cheeky Irish lads all in matching suits, who added a touch of humour to the performance and tried to liven up the audience, unfortunately to no avail. Their rendition of “I can’t smile without you” certainly made me laugh.
The Celtic Ladies then introduced their very special surprise guest as Jonathan Ansell, who was clearly born to perform. Throughout the show he was totally at ease with being on stage and connected well with the audience and has the most amazing voice. Being Valentines night he stepped out into the audience and had a dance with one of the spectators in the stalls, I think all the ladies were a little jealous of the lucky lady who he’d picked out.
As mentioned above the music the acts showcased at York Opera House was a real mixed bag from Irish jigs to Adele and the more traditional opera classics, including Nessun Dorma which was beautifully performed by Nadia of the Celtic Ladies. One of my favourites, which was sung by Nadia and Jonathan Ansell, was The Phantom of the Opera which was executed to perfection, hitting those high notes is no mean feat.
You could sense that the audience appreciated and enjoyed the performance but were quite reserved throughout, however they did join in a little more with some clapping and waving during the second half of the show, and all of the acts congregated in the foyer downstairs after the performance, where everyone was congratulating them on their performance and buying signed CDs. I think this was a lovely touch and adds that little something extra to make people have a more memorable evening.
The evening’s entertainment concluded by all of the acts singing and dancing to Queens’ Barcelona and We are the Champions, which was packed full of energy and a pleasure to watch.
Overall, the show was a mixed bag throughout which although was carefully executed didn’t take itself too seriously. It was a joy to watch and listen to the musical talents of all the artists. I think that this show would appeal to all ages and sexes and I would definitely recommend it to others. A great fun evening with some excellent singing.
As for the theatre itself my tickets were waiting for me at the box office, the gentleman behind the desk found them immediately and was very polite. All encounters with staff were positive. I had a drink during the interval, and as the venue wasn’t full I didn’t have to wait to be served at all. The venue and toilets were clean and tidy.
The Celtic Ladies are touring until 19 February 2014.
For shows at the Grand Opera House, York visit www.atgtickets.com/venues/grand-opera-house-york