Reviews

Good Driver – Album Launch

The Launch of the album “Good Driver” held at the Shelley Theatre in Boscombe was sold out months before the event so there was much anticipation among the audience as to what the evening would hold.

What a superb night. It appears that all of the regular band are solo artists and perform so well on their own as well as together. There must have been a lot of hard work that went into creating both the CD and the show content. But it paid off in multiples. 

A very good opening with The Model Car (The Good Driver Song), The Mexican sketch and The drive to Cornwall (Motorway Queue) ‘kicked off’ the evening and was truly hilarious.

The different words to a well-known song were very good, the ‘Holbein’ was my favourite as extremely clever. 

I thought the song about ‘Nightingale’  by Terry McDonald was sung with feeling and belief in the words being sung.

The Blue Danube sketch, the Mexican sketch and especially the Choir were so perfectly well delivered; Perfect and as previously advised ‘unexpected’ and still makes me laugh when I think about them now.

I thought all the soloists performed well and added to the blend of the evening, I particularly liked Paul Thomas in the second act, my favourite though being Mandy Stansfield singing and playing piano who was faultless in her performance. 

The costumes were so apt, and who would expect the cardinal, (Steve Faulkner) to be in attendance. I didn’t know he sang and played the violin so skillfully. Each time a cast member came on stage they appeared to be wearing something different that related to what they were about to do. 

Joel Solomons, the saxophonist was equally as alluring and musical as both a musician a Polo sucking Soloist. 

To say that the evening centred around the hugely talented Polly Morris is true, but not quite, as the evening was really centred around the audience who were very firmly engaged from the welcome to the final curtain. The ad-libs and the improvisation and the individual leading of the audience throughout by Brian Harries and Paul Stillwell who played the Blues Brothers and Speeding Piano sketch added to the ‘unexpectedness and sheer delight’ of the evening and kept us all on our toes. 

Polly Morris is obviously a very accomplished professional singer/songwriter whose command and use of the English language is truly inspirational. In contrast, the more reflective and quieter songs were well placed in the order of events, as individual events are what they are, and when being performed there was a very respectful hush amongst the audience which was well deserved.

One must never forget those that played various instruments again throughout which gave the band its unique sound; Kate Hunter who played piano and flute, Ben Solomons who also played flute and Si Genaro who played harmonica along with  Joel Solomons who played the Saxophone as well as the double bass, again added to the completeness of the evening. Charlie Goodwin, who played the accordion was clearly enjoying himself and amazed the audience with his skill and ability to entertain.

It was wonderful to see the cast give credit to the backstage crew (Vince Sherry, Graham Hall, Dave  Styles of PA Pulse Hire) and who evidently did so much to keep the show rolling along without hitch and even using some of them in the sketches.

As in all shows there were a few glitches but to be frank I’m not sure whether these were intentional or not, which goes to prove how convinced the audience is that all things are supposed to be there and well-rehearsed.

It was patently obvious that all members of the cast and crew thoroughly enjoyed performing and that in turn made sure that the audience did so too. There was a humorous point made at the beginning of the second half that the first half alone was a bargain at ten pounds per ticket and therefore the second act wasn’t going to happen. This needs to be considered as the evening was worth so much more than that. A professional show for amateur ticket price! Needs thinking through. 

I cannot recount how many instruments, how many players of different instruments, and how many of the cast played so many different roles. Truly amazing. 

Brian Harries, the MC, settled us in and made us all feel as if we as the audience were wholly part of the performance. In my opinion, it stunned the audience to be thanked as they were in the closing moments of the show.  It brought a tear to my eye. As he said it is always about the audience, and that night it was without a doubt. 

In the interval, someone said to me ‘They have come a long way’ I couldn’t possibly make a comment as this is my first experience of the ‘unexpected’ however I am convinced that ‘they will go a long way’. Even if King Wilfred had made it to Boscombe the night could not have been bettered.

Pamela Smyth

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