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A memorable night for Liverpool 4 December 2007
Liverpool Daily Post article

Source: Liverpool Daily Post

The Royal Variety Performance proved a memorable night for Liverpool. Philip Key reports

WHAT a start! The Royal Variety Performance got off to one of its most spectacular openings last night and one with a strong Liverpool connection.

The British singer Seal began calmly enough with a rendition of The Beatles’ Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds and as he sang the stage filled with more and more people. There were people swinging from trapezes, stilt walkers, someone doing backflips on a board, drummers and finally Liverpool’s own Sense of Sound choir adding its own distinctive sound.

It was amazing stuff and one that the rest of the show would have trouble matching.

Well, it did, but not all the way. It is not called a variety show for nothing and this had variety, both good and bad.

There were comics, singers, a balancing act, dancers, pop singers, opera singers, extracts from two shows, ballet and a couple of speciality acts. It was quite a programme.

One of the undoubted stars was former mobile phone salesman Paul Potts, winner of the TV talent show, Britain’s Got Talent. Part of the prize was an appearance in this show.

Potts certainly made the best of it with a thrilling version of Puccini’s Nessun Dorma, sung in a setting that suggested one of those glamorous Hollywood musicals with a line of girls on violins, a woman swinging on a rope, more girls playing flutes and trumpets, indeed, the works.

While it had a touch of kitsch about it, there was no denying Potts’s incredible voice and the audience’s delight.

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa also tackled Puccini (the beautiful O mio babbino caro), again wonderfully sung but with a strange setting of a moving sea and lines of what looked like giant gooseberries.

With changing times, comedians feel they can make jokes about the Queen and most took the opportunity with variable results. Al Murray, the pub landlord, was losing his voice and croaked his way through some weak material, Big Howard and Little Howard ( a comic who plays against a cartoon character) had novelty on his side but gags about calling the Queen “mum” fell rather flat while the outrageous Russell Brand went for broke with suggestive comments about Zara Phillips, the Queen (“I close my eyes when I lick a stamp”) and his inability to talk to her about anything in common in the final presentation line-up. It was dangerous stuff.

Top of the bill, US singer Jon Bon Jovi (in a three- piece suit) collected the screams with two numbers, including It’s My Life, and James Blunt scored well with a new song Same Mistake.


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