Skip to main content

Review of NMPAT Orchestra Spectacular at Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton

On my first Theatreversary I attended the Royal & Derngate for the Northamptonshire Music And Performing Arts Trusts (NMPAT) performance of An Orchestra Spectacular. It was my first encounter with a live orchestra of such a size, and its safe to say it was quite devastating on me as a night.

The evening was formed of three different orchestras, from the youth beginners (still quite brilliant), to the so called "training orchestra" and then finally after the interval the full "youth orchestra". The difference was noticeable between the three, but none were very short of excellent.

Many of the pieces were familiar to me and would very much be high on my choice of selections if I were to make a list of classical music. There were also too superb diversions from classical type with a medley of John Williams' (music god) Empire Strikes Back and video game theme from The Bounty Hunter. Our host of the evening assured us that computer game music is where much of the top notch music comes from now. As a grown-up game player, I can very much attain to this. There is truly some exceptional music in games now. The Bounty Hunter was unfamiliar to me, but performed by the "training" orchestra, it also sounded a wonderful piece.

The main bulk of the show was made up of traditional classical pieces and what pieces they were. Any opportunity to hear any of Holst's The Planets is fine by me. However this was the first time for me hearing it performed live, and it was simply incredible. The training orchestra performed Mars and Jupiter (for me the best two) and it struck me slightly dumbfounded. Their performance of Tchaikovsky's Waltz from Sleeping Beauty didn't make anything easier.

It's strange as although I listen occasionally to classical, I would never say I am a heavy consumer (it wasn't big in the eighties, where my musical tastes are generally trapped). However hearing this live was quite a different world. The second half of the show really left me dazzled beyond belief, to the point where something kept leaking from my eye. I had, lets call it, a moment. Thank heavens I was in the circle box with no one in front of me and spared any embarrassment from my waterlogged face.

I believe for whatever reason the show had an odd impact on me and ranks in the top five for experiences in the last year. There was no better way to celebrate my self titled Theatreversary, and for that I thank you R&D and especially the incredible orchestra of NMPAT. I get to do it all again on Sunday for the Wind Band Spectacular.


Performance reviewed: Sunday 1st March, 2015 at the Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton.

An Orchestra Spectacular was part of NMPAT's A Spring Festival Of Music. For more details visit their events page at 
http://www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/music/community/events1/pages/default.aspx

A Wind Band Spectacular is on Sunday 8th March, 2015 at 6:00pm, details can be found here: http://www.royalandderngate.co.uk/whatson/2015-2016/Derngate/nmpatwind

Details of Royal & Derngate can be found by visiting their website at http://www.royalandderngate.co.uk/

Popular posts from this blog

Review of Blue/Orange at Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

The challenging and socially relevant Blue/Orange by Joe Penhall was published in 2000 and back then, this caustic exploration of mental health, and more specifically black mental health issues, was a tremendously relevant play. When it debuted on stage in London, the cast of just three was played by Bill Nighy, Andrew Lincoln and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Director James Dacre doesn't have those names to play with so much in his cast, however here, he has worked with the writer himself to rework the play for a more modern audience. Does it still shock, and is the relevance still there today? Sadly, perhaps, the answer is yes, as doctors Bruce Flaherty and Robert Smith come to verbal blows over the health of patient Christopher, at times, you feel 21 years shed little light on how mental health is approached. Many references in the script, still sit unquestionably in the year 2000, however, with this reworking, one thing has changed dramatically. In the original version of the play, the two

Review of Sister Act by the Northampton Musical Theatre Company at Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton

South Pacific at Royal & Derngate last year set a remarkable benchmark for an "amateur" production, with a large talented cast, superb vocals, sets and a polish up there with a professional production. Sister Act, this years production from the Northampton Musical Theatre Company was more of the same, but perhaps taken up a notch or two. Sister Act is a musical based on the 1992 Whoopi Goldberg comedy and was first performed in 2009. Written by Bill and Cheri Steinkellner, it is a likable and fun musical which genuinely came as a surprise to me. The opening scene at Curtis's Bar and Nightclub is to be honest not the best though and genuinely didn't fill me with much hope. It feels as if it gives nothing to the cast, although it creates the premise of the story coupled with the incident outside the bar. Likewise, I didn't take much to the Police Station scene either, so it didn't bode well. When we reach the Queen Of Angels Cathedral though, this show

Review of Shrek (NMTC) at Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton

Three and a half years ago, in a land far far away, in a world very different to the one we are now in, I saw the touring professional production of Shrek The Musical , it was a mixed bag of quality, tilted extremely heavily in favour of one particular character (not the one you might expect) and not firing on all cylinders much of the time. One and a half years after my last visit to the Derngate theatre, I return to see the homegrown Northampton Musical Theatre Company's own take on the very same show. Would they be able to breathe more life into the show than the professionals did in that distant land? It is a bit of a yes and no really. Pretty much all of this is done to the best possible standard, and at times, with being an amateur show you could easily forget, they all have normal day jobs. The show oozes professional quality at times. The set looks magnificent, the costumes (from Molly Limpet's Theatrical Emporium) are superb, and as ever with NMTC, the backstage team c