Review - Comedy Concert (Jersey Opera House)

IT was a wild and stormy night, a night for all good Christian folk to stay at home – except for those who ventured out to the Jersey Opera House for an equally wild and stormy musical night – otherwise titled a ‘Comedy Concert.’The concert was presented by the Music in Action charity, and was in aid of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. It featured the Jersey Chamber Orchestra – but not as they have ever been heard before. Think of Hoffnung, think of end-of=term masters’ concerts at Prep Schools, think of Flanders and Swan… that was the sort of evening it was. Soloists included the well-known Jersey keyboard virtuoso, Christophio Georgio, and in the line-up of ‘Jersey Prep School’ masters letting their hear down for the amusement of their pupils was Sir Philip Bailhache (French), Philip Ozouf and Paul Mathams (Maths), Graham Cox and Sadie Rennard (Music), Lee Durrell (Biology), Simon Crowcroft (English and Drama), Karen Rankine (Media Studies), Carl Howarth (Head) and Terry Le Sueur (Head Master Emeritus). They all demonstrated their musical talent on such diverse instruments as football rattles, cuckoo callers and toy drums… from which it might be deduced that they took part in a performance of the Toy Symphony, composed by Joseph Haydn (perhaps). Then there was the ‘Lone Ranger’ bit of the William Tell overture and some anarchic stuff called ‘Unbegun Symphony’ (Peter Schikele) and ‘Concerto Popolare’ (Franz Reizenstein) in which Christophio Georgio and the orchestra’s conductor, Justin Doyle, apparently could not quite make up their mind what they were playing… Grieg? Rachmaninov? Gershwin? Tchaikovsky? There were fragments of all those and quite a lot more. Fortunately it ended before they quite came to blows. A more elevated tone was created by a performance of Beethoven’s ‘Variations on a Theme of Colonel Beaguée’ (arr. Dudley Moore) and a group of anarchic vocalists who styled themselves the Jersey Chamber Singers gave us some wonderful songs. Kelly Watson was excellent extolling a life on the ocean wave (hic) - specifically ‘All at Sea’ by Michael Heath, as was Derek Lawrence in Michael Flanders’ song ‘Ill Wind’ sung to the music of a Mozart Horn Concerto. A terpsichorean element from the Sands of Araby was provided by the Sand Dance, expertly performed by Christophe Chateau and David Gouédart. Finally, there was Haydn’s Surprise Symphony, performed in.. well.. a most surprising manner, and as an encore at the end, the whole house joined in the chorus of Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud –to which everyone knew the words. The evening demonstrated the truth that if you are going to fool about with music and make the result entertaining and enjoyable for all, you need to be good musicians. That was certainly true of all the performers. Great entertainment and a good night out – well worth leaving the comforts of hearth and home for.

*The concert was sponsored by Aberdeen Private Wealth Management