Posts Tagged ‘Hayward Theatre’

Review of The King’s School’s production of ‘Les Misérables’ in the Hayward Theatre on Thursday 8th December 2016

December 11, 2016

The King’s School’s production of ‘Les Misérables’ in the Hayward Theatre on Thursday was phenomenal. The young cast acted and sang with skill, the turmoil of their characters readily identifiable and the themes of injustice, tragedy, revenge, forgiveness and redemption evolved most effectively with the students’ strong well-focused voices and excellent diction and their highly believable acting.

Directed by Nick Huntingdon with music provided by Jonathan King and his team, this show held the packed audience spellbound as the dramatic and emotional events developed. We were immediately caught up in the anguish of escaped convict Jean Valjean (played by Oliver Wilkinson) who constantly sought justice and care for beautiful Cosette (Indea Cranner) while on the run from an unjust law and heartless Javert (played by Sebastian Carberry). Thénardier (Mark Spofforth) and Madame Thénardier (Emmanuelle Yembe) stole the show with when their macabre comic antics were on stage. Other notable characters were the keen lover Marius (Jean-Paul Gilbey), heart-broken Epinone (Eloise George), sadly-fated Fantine (Elizaveta Denisova) heroic Enjolras (Samuel Black) and the calmly-spoken Bishop (Orlando Squires). Orlando’s singing was especially impressive. The actresses playing young Epinone (Emma Farmer) and young Cosette (Tia Glenister) were also impressive performers.

Stage movements were carefully designed and the crowds of bawdy prostitutes, drunk inn-dwellers, women and rebels were highly entertaining enhancing the atmosphere wonderfully.

An inspired revolving staging easily turned into a battlefield, inn or romantic setting for lovers.

This was indeed an impressive production and it was no surprise there was a standing ovation at the end.

For more information about King’s School productions contact (Cats) and (DNA).


Review of Antony Peeble’s piano recital in the Hayward Theatre on Thursday 1st December 2016.

December 3, 2016

review-antony-peebles-1Ex-Trinity College Cambridge student and experienced performer and teacher, Antony Peebles, gave a splendid piano recital as part of the King’s School Ely Concert Series in the Hayward Theatre on Thursday.

He played two sonatas by Beethoven, two works by Scriabin and Ravel’s ‘Gaspard de la nuit’. The latter piece was an amazing culmination of the programme and this fine pianist proved himself a master of producing really soft sounds that maintained their musical quality no matter how wide-ranging the textures from delicate trills and rapid runs to masses of chords. Fortunately the Steinway piano provided could respond to his skill. No matter how varied the pictorial episodes were in this composition, Antony captured their essence exactly. From the fluidity of the first movement and the haunting B flat in the second movement to the macabre antics of ‘Scarbo’ in the third, this excellent artist gave credence to every articulation. Even if it was ‘a nightmare to play’ it was no problem for this performer!

Needless to say, Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight’ and ‘Appassionata’ sonatas were expressed magnificently, revelling in Beethoven’s contrasts: one minute smooth, calm and unhurried, the next suddenly excitable and agitated at great volume and strength yet all perfectly under this musician’s control. His use of the split second pause before important musical episodes kept us entranced.

Many pianists prefer the right hand to the left and would rather avoid the flat keys. Not this pianist. His performance of Scriabin’s Nocturne in D flat for the left hand flourished and the music flowed as if played by two hands. His expert touch made the sound appear to have several dimensions as the music surged across the piano.

Not satisfied with the challenges of this nocturne, Antony then played Scriabin’s Etude in D sharp minor, which was indeed a demanding study but magnificently mastered by this amazing pianist.

What an uplifting and memorable concert this was! It was no wonder there was a demand for ‘encore’!

The next concert in this series will be on Thursday 19th January 7.30 in the Recital Hall featuring Gemma Rosefield (cello) and Tim Horton (piano).



Review of Ely Choral Society’s ‘Carmina Burana’ concert in the Hayward Theatre on Saturday 9th July 2016

July 10, 2016

 review Ely Choral Society soloists and some of the choir July 2016

Wow! What a fantastic concert! Ely Choral Society really came into its own at the event on Saturday. The choirs had obviously worked very hard, for their precision with the very short sharp phrases in ‘Carmina Burana’ was spot on. The piano accompanists were magnificent, the soloists excellent and the percussion positively made the show. This must be the most vibrant and exciting concert the Choral Society has ever given.

The opening piece was indeed an excellent accompaniment to ‘Carmina Burana’. Written by Jonathan Dove, ‘Arion and the Dolphin’ reflected much of Carl Orff’s style, but this time we were taken into a world of water with a magical tale. The effects created by the voices, pianos and percussion were amazing.

The performance of ‘Carmina Burana’ was as exciting and spirited as anyone could hope for. The choir filled the theatre with the well known dramatic choruses, capturing the rhythmic pulsations exquisitely.  The captivated audience was given a thrilling, life-affirming experience.

Conductor Andrew Parnell and the participants are to be congratulated for such a fine performance. Taking part were: Ely Choral Society, Ely Youth Choir, pianists Maurice and Thanea Hodges, the percussion ensemble led by Will Sivier and soloists: Tara Bungard (soprano), Ashley Harries (counter -tenor) and Mark Gotham (baritone).

This was the culmination of the Isle of Ely Arts Festival. At the end of interval the Chair of the Isle of Ely Arts Festival committee, Shelia Friend-Smith, thanked those who had helped make the Festival so successful and read out the winners of the short story competition.  (These results are now on:

Ely Choral Society’s next events will be on Wednesday 2nd November (Requiem, Duruflé in Ely Cathedral), Saturday 3rd December (Family Carols in St. Mary’s Church) and on Saturday 8th April 2017 (Messiah, Handel in Ely Cathedral).

further information:

Review: Darren Jeffery (bass-baritone) with Anthony Seddon (piano) in the Hayward Theatre on Friday 7th March 2014.

March 14, 2014

Darren Jeffery is undoubtedly ‘one of the finest Bass-baritones of his generation’. Since many of us knew him as a young lad at the King’s School who had a good singing voice, he has managed to maintain his very pleasant personality, while establishing himself with a highly successful career as a singer. He has sung at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, English National Opera and Glyndebourne and is obviously very much in demand. We were fortunate indeed to have him visit us here in Ely.

Darren filled the theatre with his rich well-rounded tone. His amazing breath control, his sense of phrasing and his wonderful sense of humour and engrossment in the roles he portrayed made his performance spellbinding. He sang an array of songs by a variety of composers that included Handel, Ireland, Massenet, Mozart, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Puccini, Martini, Keel, De Curtis, Jennings/Horner and Claude-Michel Schönberg. 

His generosity included offering students from the King’s School Ely a spot in the programme and Emily James, Lucy Pearce, Matt Diss, Emma Jones and the King’s Barbers certainly acquitted themselves splendidly.

Darren was accompanied by Anthony Seddon who unerringly reflected the spirit of the songs perfectly. 

Highlights for me were Schubert’s ‘Ständchen’, Mozart’s ‘The Catalogue Aria’ from ‘Don Giovanni’ and ‘My Heart will go on’ by Jennings and Horner. Darren’s warm tone, smooth lines and powerful support brought these songs alive. If he could be persuaded to make CDs of popular music I am sure he would soon be sold out. His two encores for the concert were justly deserved and demonstrated Darren’s delightful wit and wonderful talent again, ending this glorious evening in a most fitting way. .

For further information:

Review of Anthony Brown (saxophone) and Leo Nicholson (piano) presenting a concert at the Hayward Theatre Ely on Friday 29th November 2013

November 30, 2013

It is impossible to get 100% in a music exam. After all it is so subjective. However, after tonight’s performance by these two amazing musicians, I had to agree that it is indeed feasible. All credit must go to Anthony Brown who demonstrated a phenomenal technique and highly musical approach to the saxophone, a much maligned instrument. He was accompanied by an equally talented pianist, Leo Nicholson and between them, they produced music that transfixed the listeners – it was so good. The synchronism they achieved was out of this world – no matter how tricky the run or the rests, they were always spot on.

The varied programme was action-packed and included works by Singelee, Piazzolla, Richard Rodney Bennett, Ibert, Maurice, Gershwin Debussy, Heath and Dubois. When the first saxophone flourish sounded we knew we were going to experience a wonderful concert. These two knew how to master the trickiest passages, the exacting articulation and the most sonorous  of passages. Highlights for me were Piazzolla’s ‘Histoire du Tango’: ‘Bordel 1900’ and ‘Cafe 1930’, Paule Maurice’s ‘Song for my Love’ and the ‘Flight of the Bumble Bee’ and ‘The Hare and the Tortoise’ by Dubois.

‘Bordel 1900’ was the first of many pieces that exuded magical rhythms brilliantly synchronised by these two highly talented performers. The tonal beauty of the saxophone was fully explored in ‘Cafe 1930’. We were soon transported into the dreamy, relaxed coffee haze of a well frequented cafe.

The tonal beauty of the saxophone was again brought to the fore in ‘Song for my Love’ while the frenetic buzz of a very busy bumble bee in ‘The Flight of the Bumble Bee’ was noticeable as these amazing performers whizzed through the demanding passages.

Dubois’ clever composing in ‘The Hare and the Tortoise’ was enhanced further by these musicians’ intense musical understanding. The languorous Tortoise, confident with his victory was well contrasted with the frantic energy of the fickle hare.

This was a wonderful concert and the encore was well deserved.

These two may be heard again in the Purcell room in London on the 9th January 2014. For more information contact

The next King’s School Ely Concert Society event will feature Tom Coulson (trumpet) and Christopher Baxter (piano) in the Recital Hall on Friday 17th January at 730 pm contact Lisa Bushell (01353 653931) email:

Review of The King’s School Ely’s Charity Concert on Friday 15th November in the Hayward Theatre

November 17, 2013

The King’s School Ely’s Charity Concert on Friday 15th November in the Hayward Theatre was another crowning success for this excellent school. The Hayward Theatre was packed with performers and tickets were soon sold out.

The programme featured many of their well-known performers: the Concert Band, a Percussion Ensemble, the Minstrels, Brass Ensembles, the King’s Barbers, the Jazz Band, Spikes Cello group and King’s Ely Orchestra.

The larger groups provided some real highlights: the Concert Band, the Jazz Band, and the King’s School Ely Orchestra. The King’s Barbers (directed by Peter North) also gave an outstanding performance.

The Concert Band opened the concert and as the first notes were struck the wow factor was immediately apparent. The Director, Michel Sedgwick, really knows how to inspire his students to engage effectively with powerful and exciting rhythms. ‘All the Best’ by Otto M. Schwartz was played with precision and musicality, and the empathy between the sections was particularly noticeable.  Dave Brubeck’s fascinating rhythms were brought alive in ‘Blue Rondo a la Turk ‘arranged by Stephen Schwalgin while ‘Tom Jones in Concert’ led us through a delightful medley of his well-known songs which were played with the same suave sensuality that we associate with the singer.

Julian Landymore, another vital director, this time of the Jazz Band, moulded the group into an amazingly cohesive phenomenon that gelled perfectly the easy smooth sounds and ‘natural’ off beat rhythms.   The pieces were well chosen: Duke Ellington’s ‘Satin Doll’ arranged by Bob Lowden, ‘Just Before Midnight’ by Howard Rowe, and ‘Cosy Toes’ by Lenny Niehaus.

The King’s School Ely orchestra, conducted by Martin Leigh, gave one of the best performances I have heard this orchestra give. The first movement of Beethoven’s first symphony was a classic choice and performance in all sense of the word, with the orchestra reaching a much higher standard than expected of any ‘school’ orchestra.

The remaining items were also delightful and helped to make this concert yet another highly successful event at the beginning of the school year.

The two charities the school is supporting, The Old Dispensary in Ely and Food Bank were able to express their thanks with short speeches by representatives of these organizations at the end of the concert.

Future events by the King’s School:

Thursday 21 November 1310 Ely Cathedral lunchtime Live Concert

Friday 22 November 1730 Ely Cathedral King’s Ely Chapel Choir sings Evensong

Tuesday 26 November 1400 Recital Hall Trumpet masterclass Paul Archibald

Friday 29 November 1930 Recital Hall King’s Ely Concert Society Anthony Brown and Leo Nicholson (saxophone and piano)

Wednesday 4 December – Saturday 7 December 1930 Hayward Theatre Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat

Friday 13 December 1100 Ely Cathedral King’s Ely Carol Service

For more information contact: Lisa Bushell (01353 653931 email:


Review of Ely Youth Choir Festival Concert in the Hayward Theatre Ely Sunday 28th April 2013.

May 11, 2013


 Ely Youth Choir Festival Concert in the Hayward Theatre Ely on Sunday 28th April 2013 was a great success. North Suffolk Youth Choir, Cantiamo Youth Choir, and Ely Youth Choir gathered together for a day’s singing in a series of workshops as part of the inaugural Festival. The culmination of the event was a most uplifting concert.

The singers were in fine voice, creating moments of excitement and beauty. The concert opened with ‘Don’t stop believin’’ with the combined choirs singing under the directorship of Andrew Parnell. It was obvious from the start that these young singers were thoroughly enjoying themselves. Vetta Wise then conducted John Rutter’s ‘ Look at the World’. This song was particularly smooth and expressive. A lively performance of a Zimbabwean chant, ‘Freedom’, followed and an interesting arrangement of ‘Your Face’ by Bob Chilcott was the first for Roger Barns to conduct. Charlie Penn led the choirs in a moving and sustained performance of ‘In Remembrance’ by Daley,   Cantiamo proved a very competent choir as they mastered an intriguing, challenging and quirky arrangement of  ‘Waltzing Matilda’ by Bob Chilcott,

Accompanied by Alison Evans, North Suffolk Choir gave a worthy performance of ‘Sure on this shining night’ by Barber arranged by Dick Averre,. Their ‘Sanctus’ from Mass for Many Nations (by Lang) was delightful, the lively clapping section faultless. Ely Youth Choir gave a charming performance of  ‘Hallelujah’ by Cohen, and a lively rendition of ‘You Can’t stop the Beat’ from Hairspray by Shaiman. The grand finale of this most enjoyable concert was ‘Fly me to the Moon’ by Howard arranged by Shaw conducted by Charlie Penn.

Juliet Abrahamson, Director of the Cambridge Music Festival gave encouraging advice to the performers at the end of the event and mentioned what a good idea having a festival for youth was, and that the Cambridge Festival may feature one in the future.

Congratulations go to the Festival Director Jonathan Rogers  and we look forward to next year’s promised Youth Choir Festival.

Review of Daniela Rossi (classical guitar) at the Hayward Theatre Friday 30th November 12

December 3, 2012

Classical music is not always readily associated with the guitar, but in the hands of Daniela Rossi, the instrument was proved to be ideal for conveying the most subtle of expression in the pieces she chose. Her concert in the Hayward Theatre as part of the King’s School Concert Series included pieces of different styles and from different periods and cultures.

The programme opened with Lachrimae Pavan by the English composer Dowland. It was immediately apparent that this performer had great strength of purpose that came from an internal, intuitive understanding of how the most subtle of expressions could be effectively portrayed.

In the second pie, Fantasie, op. 19 by the Italian Luigi Legnani, she demonstrated an ability to sooth the strings into merging rapid runs into a continuous flow, making them contrast well with her emphatic, strong and precise chords.

Three of the Five pieces for Guitar by the Argentinian, Astor Piazzolla, suited Daniela’s playing particularly well, reminding us of her Argentinian origins. In the first piece, Campero, her tonal variety was phenomenal, in the second Romántico she held together the sweeping strands beautifully while in the third, Acentuado, she kept the audience spellbound with her skill as a performer.

After interval, in D’Angelo’s Due Canzioni Lidie she created some particularly evocative sonorous effects in the first song and more agitated episodes in the second.

The evening culminated with Sonata para Guitarra by Antonio José from Spain. During these four movements she created amazing effects ranging from harp-like chordal progressions in the Allegro, very varied tonal levels in the Minuetto andtense insistence in the Pavana Triste to a final joyful celebration in the final movement (Finale).

This was a highly successful concert and the sizeable audience soon let the performer know how much they enjoyed the event and her two encores were enthusiastically received.

The next concert will be Trio Petrus (violin, ‘cello and piano) on Friday 18th January 7.30 pm in the Recital Hall contact Lisa Bushell (01353 653931) email:

Rosemary Westwell

Review: Mediterranea Trio for the King’s School Ely Concert Society in the Hayward Theatre, Ely.

March 16, 2011

The Mediterranea Trio had the audience spellbound when they demonstrated their amazing technique and cohesion in the Hayward Theatre on the 11th March 2011. Elenlucia Pappalardo (piano), Markella Vandoros (violin) and Alessandro Sanguineti (cello) combined perfectly, playing as one. Their concert included mammoth works that explored a wide range of styles and expressions.

Schubert’s Piano Trio no.2 in E flat major, D.929 opened the programme. In these four varied movements, the three players definitely added a Mediterranean flavour to their performance as they fully expressed the emotive and lyrical potency of Schubert’s themes. Cascading runs and broken chords in the piano and beautifully entwined violin and cello episodes captured our attention immediately. The playful Scherzo and its subsequent changes of mood and the intriguing stuttering theme in the final movement were also exquisitely executed.

Shostakovich’s Piano Trio no.2 in E minor, op. 67 that followed provided a contrast. In this work we were transported to the sparse countryside of Russia. Intriguing use of harmonics in the cello helped create an eerie sense of emptiness and loss associated with the souls of the missing people from the atrocities of the Second World War. This desolation branched into long episodes that were demonic, macabre or pervaded with haunting gypsy refrains. Not a moment was lost. Every nuance of expression and emotion was wrenched from the notes by these amazing musicians.

This delightful concert ended with Piazzolla’s Four Seasons of Buenos Aires. This work demonstrated without a doubt that these players ‘have it’. Some musicians, no matter how practiced they are, can create music that is note perfect and rhythmically exact but that never quite touches the soul of the music. However, these wonderful performers exuded natural Latin rhythmic ‘know how’ to fascinating effect. Their amazing technical agility, their expressive intensity and their empathy with the style was always permeated with an infectious Tango rhythmic pulse.

This was indeed a wonderful event.

The next concert in the King’s School Ely Concert Series will be on the 13th of May in the Recital Hall at 7.30 pm featuring Catriona Clark (soprano), Daniel Howard (baritone) and Oliver Hancock (piano).


(for tickets and information about King’s School events) Lisa Bushell, Performing Arts Administrator, (01353 653931) email:

Review of The King’s School Ely’s 19th Old Dispensary Concert Friday 19th November in the Hayward Theatre Ely

November 21, 2010

An amazing array of highly talented musicians performed at the King’s School Ely’s 19th Old Dispensary Concert in the Hayward Theatre on Friday. Over the years the school has managed to raise in the region of £20,000 to keep this much needed community centre open and the standard of entertainment they have provided has been exceptional. Fridays’ event was one of the finest.  

Director Ian Sutcliffe has worked wonders. The concert opened with a very expressive performance of ‘Danse Macabre’ by Saint-Saens by the Senior Orchestra. The String Orchestra directed by Helen Medlock followed with a lively ‘Badinerie’ by JS Bach and then it was the turn of the famed King’s Barbers and Ely Cathedral Boy Choristers. Singing with their usual sonorous perfection, they offered some more modern items in the popular vein:  ‘Angels’ (Robbie Williams and G Chambers), and ‘Shine’ by G. Barlow, J. Orange, H. Donald, M. Owen and S. Robson. It was interesting to note that the latter song was arranged by A.L’Estrange who had visited the school and given a workshop on a separate occasion previously.

Spikes, a delightful group of cellists played an interesting arrangement of the ‘Raindrop Prelude in D flat’ by Chopin and Voicexchange, directed by Peter B North, produced beautifully shaped sounds and effective lively harmonies in ‘Let’s begin again by J. Rutter and ‘For Now’ by R. Lopez and J. Marx.

In Julian Landymore’s hands, the Jazz Band wowed us with ‘Stompin’ at the Savoy’ by B. Goodman, soothed us with the haunting ‘Cycles’ by C. Gordon and ‘Cerulean Sea’ by L. Niehaus and had us tapping our toes with the final ‘jazzy’ ‘Yardbird Suite’ by C. Parker.

The renowned Chamber Choir directed by Ian Sutcliffe presented ‘Oh Shenandoah’ – the song that they were to sing on Radio Cambridgeshire the following Sunday. The maturity and beauty of their voices was phenomenal. This work was also arranged by A. L’Estrange,

The Brass Ensemble conducted by Michel Sedgwick demonstrated tremendous power, glorious tone and slick tonguing in ‘Farandole from ‘L’Arlesienne Suite’’ by Bizet and ‘It Don’t Mean a Thing’ arranged by C.  Custer

A highly amusing piano duet played by Yukie Kimura and Luke Cave provided light contrast before the grand finale provided by The Concert Band playing ‘Wind Power’ by T Deleruyelle, ‘Te Deum’ by J. de Hann and ‘Tom Jones in Concert’ arranged by F. Bernaerts. Michel Sedgwick, a highly talented conductor, had these wonderful musicians creating tremendous sounds of splendour, subtlety and exquisite tonal control. It was no surprise to learn that this band hand had recently completed a highly successful tour of Malaysia in the presence of none other than the King. Spotted amongst the percussion was the previous Head of Music at the school, Graham Griggs.

As we left the theatre with Tom Jones’ ‘It’s not unusual to be loved …’ or ‘The Green green grass of home …’ singing in our ears, we knew we had been to a special event. Is there no end to the talent of the students of this school?

Contact: or tel (01353) 653931