Last night I was invited to the Novello Orchestra at the WMC in exchange for a review. As always my reviews are 100% honest and reflect my own views of the performance.
No matter how many times I visit the Wales Millennium Centre (WMC) I never fail to be wowed. From a distance it may well appear as a huge armadillo amongst the Cardiff Bay skyline. But there is something quite breathtaking about approaching its doors with the words in Welsh and English all aglow. It always manages to create a sense of occasion; an assurance that you’re going to be in for a special night. And what a treat it was! After all, what better way is there to spend a Sunday evening, other than listening to the live Novello Orchestra at the WMC?
Novello Orchestra at the WMC Review
The music of the night was performed by the Novello Orchestra and conducted by the charismatic David Mahoney. Mahoney has toured extensively with Only Men Aloud and has appeared on television shows such as Children in Need and Strictly Come Dancing. He is no stranger to singing talent; having worked with Catherine Zeta Jones, Shirley Bassey and Alfie Boe, amongst numerous other big names.
Mahoney interacted well with the audience and was not only charming but quite funny too. I especially liked his sharing of some of the tweets made by the guests at the interval. Particularly the one from a chap who was not happy about missing ‘I’m A Celebrity’ to see the show.
The whole evening was hosted by the loveable Connie Fisher, who if I’m honest seemed a little overly reliable on her prompt cards. But she still came across as lovely, if not a little staged. Together, they were joined on stage by guests Lucie Jones (Legally Blonde, Waitress), Ian H Watkins (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat and vocalist from Steps), Craig Gallivan (Stella) and Steffan Hughes (Only Men Aloud).
Throughout the evening we were treated to hit after hit of songs and music melodies from the movies. The orchestra which sat proudly on the centre stage kicked off the evening with the classic music from Ghostbusters. This was the first of many superb performances from the orchestra. Highlights were the collection of Abba classics and a movie mix up in which we could identify each and every one of the iconic tunes chosen.
Singing wise, Jones was by far the star of the night. Her rendition of Skyfall whilst accompanied by the Norvello Orchestra was mesmerisingly good with goosebumps guaranteed. Also jaw-droppingly good, were her performances of ‘Let it Go’, ‘I Will Always Love You’ and ‘Shallow’ in which she sang with Watkins. Jones was simply phenomenal and I could have listened to her all night.
I’d also like to give a shout out to Hughes and Gallivan who between them stepped in for Noel Sullivan (Hear Say, School if Rock Musical) who pulled out at last minute due to illness. Hughes, who was due to perform some songs anyway, was another rising talent and was very natural on the stage.
I particularly enjoyed his love duet with Watkins. They sang ‘Falling Slowly’ from the film Once, which is usually sung by a male and female. Watkins told the audience of how special it was for him to be able to perform a love duet with a male for a change. He and Hughes certainly did the song justice with their rendition.
As Watkins told us, he will soon be performing on ITV’s Dancing on Ice and he will be making history as the first contestant to have a same sex partner. As Hughes jested, hopefully we won’t be ‘Falling Slowly’ during his time on the ice.
The show finale came with the entrance of the Cardiff City Voices choir who filled the stage. They performed ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and ‘ Against All Odds’ to a packed theatre and with many a proud family member there to be sure.
The whole evening was a delight. It was a nice change to be at the WMC watching a concert rather than the usual musicals, which of course I also love. The stage was perfect for the orchestra and the acoustics were perfect for enjoying some much loved movie classics.
David Mahoney and the Novello Orchestra will be back at the WMC on March 3rd performing a night of Heart and Soul in celebration of Motown and Soul classics. As Mahoney suggested, a pair of tickets would make for a lovely Christmas present for someone. Just a small plug for his future show, and why not?
Did you see the concert last night? We’d love to hear what you thought of it, let us know in the comments.
For a list of events at the WMC you can visit their website HERE.
To find out more about Novello Orchestra and their upcoming events visit their website HERE.