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Review of That'll Be The Day Christmas Show at Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton

I am not entirely sure why I was a little reticent initially to the offer by a friend to accompany a group to see That'll Be The Day. It wasn't that I would have a problem with the music, as be it 50s, 60s, 70s or whatever decade, good music for me goes beyond the generations (although obviously the 80s are best). Perhaps it was that this show had a reputation for being popular with the grey brigade (although I have plenty of my own grey now)? This made no sense either, as some of our number were quite a bit younger than my 39 years. I think actually the problem in my head was going to a Christmas show on the 26th November. I have absolutely nothing against Christmas, but a whole evening of its music was not my ideal evening. Or so I thought.

It was actually a superb evening of music and comedy, which although very possibly is a little long at three hours with the interval, rarely disappoints. While this is a Christmas show, there is enough non seasonal music to keep it being a festive overload. There are some superb sections which included the Christmas at The Cabin section hosted by a nice take off of the Fab 4 and guests. There was also a quite stunning performance of Gene Pitney's Somethings Got A Hold of my Heart. Another highlight from the evening and a bit of an emotional one was a lovely tribute to the late great Mr David Bowie. An epic collection of imaginary was projected upon the screen during a wonderful and fitting performance of Starman.

As well as the obvious brilliant music, there were a lot of comedy moments, mostly taking off past characters of sitcoms and double acts past. We had Steptoe and Son, Laural & Hardy and a Christmas Carol spoof featuring Alf Garnet as Scrooge. It was all very end of the pier stuff, and often very near the knuckle at times for a family show, but for the best part it was genuinely funny, if a little dated. With Garnet, it also managed to be as politically incorrect as you would expect. I'll leave you to judge on your position on that one.

I also have to say that the production values were impressive as well, with a last group of performers, a busy wardrobe and a very well utilised screen for video. There were sticky moments at times, but these rarely came where it mattered withing the music pieces, as each performer was perfectly selected to capture the likenesses.

I have to say that That'll Be The Day was a pleasant surprise, although looking at its incredible thirty year history of packing them in, perhaps it shouldn't have been. A really enjoyable evening of classic music, brilliant performers and some very nice comic moments. A harmless evening of entertainment.

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Performance reviewed: Saturday 26th November, 2016 at the Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton.

That'll Be The Day Christmas Show was a single night performance at the Royal & Derngate but continues its tour, details at http://www.thatllbetheday.com/

That'll Be The Day returns to the Royal & Derngate on 2nd June, 2017. 
For further details visit the Royal & Derngate website at http://www.royalandderngate.co.uk/

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