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 Bugsy Malone (Clyde Company) at The Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

Last night I was back at Royal & Derngate to see the Youth Theatre/Young Company production of Bugsy Malone, this time seeing the almost completely different cast of Clyde Company. This second evening of the show had the fortune of running much smoother, with less of the technical issues that had beset the previous evening and restricted the success of some of the scenes.

It was most apparent in the Fat Sam's Grand Slam scene, which became a greater hive of activity, with a full dance routine taking place, which unfortunately hadn't happened the previous night. Leading this scene was a full-on performance from Morgan Charles as Tullulah, exhibiting the vocal talent, and most especially the dance skills she had shown in last years Fame.

In the lead for this second company, and taking a much different approach to the role, was Nathan Stroud. Here we had a more mature Bugsy, not just in age, but in personality. The slightly more serious style worked excellently alongside a st…

Review of Planet Circus OMG! 2016 at Billing Aquadrome, Northampton

An unexpected call from a friend who had received a free ticket, à la Willy Wonka's Golden Ticket, to go and see a circus for free, left me sitting in a circus tent a few hours later for the first time in about thirty years.


It was a wise, albeit on occasion, scary decision. I have to confess that when seeing shows like this, where there is an element of danger involved I do tend to squirm into the chair I sit. This happened mostly during the opening act of the second half of the show, the suitably titled Wheel Of Death. I rolled into an uncomfortable ball, while the five or six year old behind me gleefully shouted that "they are going to die!".


This was a scary welcome to the second act, after the first much more relaxing first half. It works excellently and is credit to producer and director Mark Whitney that the show is perfectly balanced, with the bulk of traditional circus arts in the first half, while the more spectacular and often more modern feeling ones are in …

Review of The Crucible at Royal & Derngate (Underground), Northampton

A few weeks ago I headed down to London to see this years graduating University of Northampton BA Actors perform Arthur Miller's classic The Crucible, and while it was generally spotlessly performed, as expected, the staging of it was tremendously dull, offering little stimulation beyond just the words being said. It made a classic, quite dull as a result. There was no such issue with The Actors Company production, staged in the atmospheric Underground space, and directed with such style and flair by Fay Lomas, to make Miller's play unrecognisable from that London version.

Based around the Salem Witch Trials in Massachusetts, Reverend Parris (a tough uncompromising performance from Steve While) comes across a group of girls dancing in the forest. When one of the girls, Betty (Laura Green), falls into a coma, events spiral out of control for many of the residents of the town, as accusations fly. Soon, Judge Danforth (Sue Whyte) is on the scene, and the lives of the residents a…