September 2012Review by WENDY JENKINS
‘SHARE the love, feel the vibe’ was the message from compère Gerard Le Feuvre, as he introduced a plethora of talent taking part in the inaugural “Original Works Concert” held at the Opera House in September.
The evening was the fulcrum of a year-long project, The Bedell Creative Arts Programme, which enabled local composers and songwriters to work alongside dancers, choreographers, film makers and multimedia artists to produce original pieces of work.
Mr Le Feuvre’s cosy, humorous and all-embracing style meant that the evening took on a warm and convivial atmosphere where all the participants had the opportunity to showcase their prodigious gifts to an appreciative and encouraging audience.
Eclectic in the extreme, the programme was, nonetheless, breathtakingly impressive. Once again, Jersey proved it can punch above its weight in the Arts and has much to say and much to offer. The opening short film, ‘Danse du Diable’ was powerful in its portrayal of the island’s busy ‘head down, don’t look around’ mentality where individuals are lost to the pursuit of materialism and commercialism. Set to a beautiful composition by fourteen year old Ruben Maric, cars jerked and stopped, moved on and around in a never-ending spiral of monotony and uselessness.
That sense of seriousness and intensity followed on throughout the evening, where several performances were marked by their sense of sadness and loss. Such young lives seemed devoid of hope and joy; expressions of so much brokenness and heartache possibly reflected a generation in tatters, suffering at the hands of a society gone mad with the spirit of individualism. Pieces such as ‘Dreamscapes’ and ‘Albert’ were achingly alluring and yet painful in the sorrow they expressed.
Two performances lifted the mood significantly: one was by a group called Spisz, a Polish ensemble whose stunning traditional folk costumes were only transcended by their bright voices, lovely smiles and expressive faces. The other was by the veteran performer, Rick Jones, who, due to technical difficulties, was forced to abandon his song, unplug his acoustic guitar, sit on the edge of the stage and just…carry on. It was one of those unique, spontaneous moments when the audience urged him on to perform ‘unplugged’ and he gave it everything. It was a memorable and impressive act.
The evening was, without doubt, a stunning success. It was great to see the Opera House so full and to experience what formidable talent is being nurtured and honed here on the island. There is much to celebrate!