Last night’s performance of Calamity Jane at the King’s Theatre in Glasgow included an unscheduled second intermission when the fire alarm went off mid-scene.
Everyone had to troop outside and patiently await the arrival of the fire brigade. Luckily, Jodie Prenger and the rest of the cast handled the interruption with aplomb, posing for selfies and leading an impromptu sing-along, before we all headed back inside for the rest of the show.
What could have been a calamity turned out to be a highlight of the evening. Definitely the best fire alarm ever!
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Poor Anton Du Beke! Every year he turns up to meet the latest batch of female celebrities partaking in Strictly Come Dancing, hoping to be partnered with the potential winner. And every year he seems to get a dud.
Anton must be thrilled, then, that his professional dancer Erin Boag is back from maternity leave. The popular duo is currently touring the UK with That’s Entertainment, their latest extravaganza of music and dance.
Accompanied by lead vocalist Lance Ellington and the massed ranks of the Scottish Concert Orchestra, Anton, Erin and their fabulous troupe of dancers hoofed their way though a toe-tapping selection of hits from the golden age of stage and screen. Lots of quick costume changes added to the ‘no business like show business’ vibe. We were practically blinded from the dazzle of rhinestones by the end.
As usual, Anton and Erin took some time out from dancing for a Q&A session with the audience during the second half. They were also joined by Anton’s ‘dud’ from the 2014 series of Strictly Come Dancing, tennis coach Judy Murray (perhaps better known as the mother of former Wimbledon champ Andy). Judy and Anton performed one of their dances from the TV show, a kind of highland waltz to the strains of Mull of Kintyre (accompanied by the ubiquitous piper, natch). I think Judy must have been practicing because she didn’t seem so bad to me. She’s also a very funny lady – the pair of them must have had a great deal of fun together during rehearsals.
In keeping with the general theme of Hollywood glamour, there was really only one place to go for dinner after the show. Rogano first opened its doors in 1935 and to this day retains the original Art Deco fixtures and fittings. It’s a pretty old-fashioned kind of joint but a Glasgow institution nonetheless. We ate downstairs in the less pricey Café Rogano. Prawn cocktail followed by fish pie with a puff pastry fish-shaped topper was exactly what the doctor ordered and we went home feeling very happy indeed.
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“They say you are who you hang with. It’s no coincidence I wanna hang with you.” Good People – Little Big Town
Little Big Town first came to our attention in March 2013 when we travelled down to London for the Country to Country (C2C) festival. Despite being assigned a less than favourable late afternoon warm-up slot, this four-piece group totally owned the cavernous O2 arena stage in headline style.
Now back in the UK for their first live shows since C2C, Little Big Town stopped by the ABC on Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street. Formerly a multiplex cinema, the ABC has been transformed into a cracking little live music venue where you can get up close and personal with the performers. Perfect for a night in the company of the good people who make up Little Big Town.
With two blondes, two brunettes and impeccable harmonies, Little Big Town are like a country ABBA with a pinch of Fleetwood Mac stirred through for good measure. That said, they’re definitely not some pale imitation of musical influences. Playing to a packed house, tracks from eclectic new album Pain Killer featured heavily, although plenty of old favourites from Tornado and the rest of the band’s back catalogue made the set list too. From banging opener Turn the Lights On through to encore Boondocks, Little Big Town deftly demonstrated why music is best experienced live. My personal highlights included Girl Crush, Day Drinking, Leavin’ in Your Eyes, Tumble and Fall, Sober and Pontoon. As in London, their rocking cover of The Chain proved a real crowd pleaser.
Chatting to the crowd between numbers, Little Big Town came across as the kind of folk you’d like to hang out with at a Nashville bar or on a Florida beach. They even got a fan up on stage for an impromptu whisky tasting session. Taking a final bow at the end of the evening, the quartet seemed genuinely gobsmacked by the warmth of their Glasgow welcome. Let’s hope they come back for another visit real soon.
Little Big Town were accompanied on tour by upcoming British country duo The Shires. Unfortunately, we missed the first few songs of their set (long story) but were sufficiently taken with what we heard to invest in tickets to see them when they return to Glasgow in April.