What do Disney’s Frozen, La Boheme and Wizzard have in common? They each feature songs included in the Bridgewater Halls Christmas Spectacular. In a show that promises to stuff your stocking to the brim with Christmas carols, conductor John Rigby leads the audience through an impressive display of relentless Christmas cheer.
The Manchester Chorale delve into a varied program of Christmas classics that are beautifully blended with the Manchester’s Concert Orchestra. While both the orchestra and chorale remain on stage throughout the program, special guests included Anna Patalong and Nico Darmanin, singing the final act of La bohème and The Jingle Belles dance troupe.
The traditional carols and classical music are fused with familiar pop hits performed with the talented Laura Tenbutt. Laura is known for lending her voice in West End productions (The Wizard of Oz and Les Miserables) and alongside the incredible orchestra, the second act encouraged far more audience participation. The audience were forced to their feet, as each seating section of the hall were asked to recite the 12 Days of Christmas along with a movement for their day. Even hardened Grinch’s will be forced to succumb to the Christmas spirit.
Awash with energy and colour, the shows positivity was mirrored in the Jingle Belles performances. The group consisted of two men and six women who were onstage sporadically. Although, the Bridgewater Hall is a large space, it’s orchestra and carollers were a permanent fixture and it was a tight squeeze for the Belles.
Impressively they moved from the waltz, to hand jive (hanging off the edge of the stage) and eventually dancing out into the audience. It was a heart-warmingly cheesy additive to the traditional show. However, I recommend they add a Santa clause as he was oddly missing amongst the fleet of Mrs. Claus’s.
The Christmas Spectacular brought a timeless vision of Christmas, designed to get you ready for the main event. To complete the program, fireworks were set off during the final routine of I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday. These turned out to be too fiery as they eventually set off the fire alarms to the building. Nevertheless, this is a Bridgewater production that plays annually so if you want to be inundated with Christmas carols I suggest you put a note in your diary for next year.