It’s Sunday at ‘The Pheasantry’, Chelsea, and what better way to spend the afternoon than watching a superb musical event in aid of Back on Track, a wonderful charity founded by Dr Aamer Khan and Lesley Reynolds of the famouus ‘Harley Street Skin Clinic’ to support the rehabilitation of wounded veterans. The show opened with charismatic host, Sam Kane, whose engaging and warm personality ensured an uplifting and highly enjoyable afternoon.
Dee Anderson treated the audience to a hypnotic and enigmatic performance of her song, “Stormy Monday”. Dee is an immensely talented performer with a spellbinding, bluesy, soulful voice, which captivated the audience and conveyed the beauty and spirit of the lyrics and music. Dee has an extraordinary way of reaching into the human heart and touching the soul, and her rendition of “Stormy Monday” was no exception. Accompanied by her wonderful pianist, Isaac, Dee performed with passion and intensity, taking the listener on a journey with her. Isaac’s incredibly beautiful accompaniment intensified the rawness of Dee’s performance, supporting her in drawing the audience into her world with her haunting, bewitching vocals and beauteous stage presence. As “Stormy Monday” drew to a close, Dee then cleverly and effortlessly blended the melody into “Welcome to the Pheasantry”, demonstrating her versatility and intelligence as a performer. Dee is an award-winning jazz singer and it is easy to see why. She delighted the audience with her presence and it was clear that singing and being live on stage is where she is at home.
Mo Pleasure and Kedma then brought their dynamic, powerhouse performance to the stage, filling the venue with a wondrous rendition of “Natural Woman” and “Later”. Mo’s spellbinding piano playing combined with the beauty of Kedma’s electrifying and powerful voice provided the audience with an extraordinary and emotional experience. Mo and Kedma’s inspired performance captivated and entranced the audience who were, once again taken on a journey that captured the power and heart of the music. Kedma’s version of “Natural Woman” was a beguiling, pure, and truly emotional rendition that left me with a feeling of absolute privilege to have the opportunity to witness a performance of such power and beauty.
Lucy Kane, along with her equally talented brother, Jack Kane, proved what a huge talent they both are with their exceptional performances of “At Last” and “Shallow”. Lucy’s alluring performance showed off her pure and fabulous voice which was intoxicating and moving, showing a true connection with the lyrics and the music. The combination of Jack’s sublime voice and instinctive guitar playing made for a perfect combination. Their duet was sensational and their beautiful harmony and intuitive understanding of each other resulted in a sensational performance and a real musical treat.
The sensational mezzo-soprano, Friederike Krum delighted the audience with a truly breathtaking version of “Never Enough” which captured the emotion and depth of the song with truth and beauty. She went on to give an equally uplifting and superb rendition of “You Raise Me Up”, her understanding and connection with the song resulting in a unique, magical interpretation. Friederike finished with a stellar, sublime performance of “Nessun Dorma” and sang with a truth and strength which was extraordinarily beautiful and divine. Friederike brought her unique magic to the venue which delighted the audience and conveyed her immense skill and passion.
The show came to its finale with a superb performance from multi-talented La Voix who is not simply a magnificent singer but also a hugely talented comedian. La Voix has an incredibly strong and powerful voice and is always guaranteed to give an outstanding and dynamic performance. In this case, she showcased her extraordinary range with an exhilarating performance of “Simply the Best” which demonstrated her exceptional connection with the audience and her ability to bring joy and exhilaration to the room. She then moved on to sing a compilation of Adele songs in the style of Shirley Bassey, Cher, Liza Minnelli, and Judy Garland, which was both hilarious and awe-inspiring. La Voix’s ability to sing, not only as an incredible singer in her own right but also as someone who can emulate such powerful icons, shows that she is an intuitive, perceptive, intelligent and highly talented artist.
The event was a musical sensation and an absolute triumph, a wonderful way to raise awareness and support the fabulous charity Back on Track.
“Two shows for the price of one: laugh out loud comedy and some surprisingly sensitive piano playing.” – James Lisney, Pianist.
Alistair McGowan – The Piano Show
UK TOUR 2022
A Unique Mix of Classic Comedy and Classical Music
AND ANNOUNCING THE RELEASE OF A NEW ALBUM OF CLASSICAL PIANO MUSIC…
Master impressionist Alistair McGowan is embarking on a brand-new tour during Spring 2022 which combines his incredible comedy talents with his new-found passion for classical piano music.
Alistair McGowan – The Piano Show opens on Thursday 31st March 2022 in Hexham, before heading to Barnard Castle, Alnwick, Cheltenham, Ivybridge, Taunton, Cardiff, Blackburn, Selby, Liverpool, Poole, Shanklin, Radlett, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Scarborough, Canterbury, Tetbury, and London’s prestigious Cadogan Hall.
After 25 award-winning years in the world of comedy, Alistair McGowan began playing the piano in 2015. Within two years, he had released Alistair McGowan: The Piano Album through Sony Classical which topped the UK Classical album charts and reached No 2 in the Classic FM chart. The album featured 17 short piano pieces by composers including Satie, Chopin, Field, Grieg, Schuman, Liszt, and Glass.
Since 2018, Alistair has been playing the piano publicly to great acclaim (despite the odd mistake!), and his move from comedy at the highest level into the world of classical piano is unparalleled. He thinks he is the first person to mix stand-up comedy with straight classical music in a live setting.
Without training as a musician, his ability to perform in public under pressure and then to slickly mix the music with his stand-up routines and endlessly changing roster of impressions of zeitgeist celebrities is truly impressive, sets him apart – and makes for a very entertaining evening which Alistair describes: “Two shows in one. It shouldn’t really work but, I’m repeatedly told, it does – thankfully. Audiences even seem to enjoy my mistakes, I don’t!”
Alistair studied piano for two years as a boy but gave it up in favour of football and tennis.
He began working as a stand-up comedian in 1989 and soon found work on radio and television as well as taking shows to the Edinburgh Festival including When Harry Met Ally with Harry Hill in 1991. His own television series eventually followed in 1999 and, over four years, The Big Impression became one of BBC One’s most highly rated comedy programmes, winning a BAFTA in 2002.
He has also worked on television as an actor in programmes such as Mayo and Bleak House and in the film Driving Aphrodite with Richard Dreyfuss. On stage, he has twice played Henry Higgins in Pygmalion, twice played The Mikado, and was nominated for an Olivier Award for his performance as the Dentist in Little Shop of Horrors in the West End, alongside Sheridan Smith. He has also written three biographical plays for Radio 4 about George Bernard Shaw and the composers, Erik Satie and John Field.
Alistair McGowan – The Piano Show demonstrates and showcases his love of all the art forms that have gripped him during his rich and varied career. And, in its two previous incarnations, he has introduced a new audience to short, classical piano pieces from composers including Cyril Scott, Yann Tiersen and Madeleine Dring, and has surprised classical music lovers by delivering – between the pieces – his impressions of Harry Kane, Raymond Blanc, and Roger Federer.
The 57-year-old says: “Rediscovering the piano as an adult has been a great joy to me and being able to share that joy with others is both a privilege and a huge pleasure – although I continue to be in total awe of trained pianists who can play far more intricate pieces than I could ever attempt.”
“After having to reschedule the tour due to the pandemic, I’m very much looking forward to this new tour and if it encourages someone else to follow their own dream, whatever their age, then that’s even better.”
Alistair has received plaudits from several classical musicians for the quality of his playing reminding us all that it is never too late to try to attempt what you love and what you and others may think is impossible.
WHAT THE CRITICS SAY ABOUT ALISTAIR MCGOWAN
“Alistair McGowan’s impressions are faultless” – The Sunday Times.
“He plays piano splendidly” – The Observer.
“Alistair plays an impressive range of pieces with enviable touch and feeling” – Charles Owen, Pianist.
“Inspired and inspiring!” – Anthony Hewitt, Concert pianist.
UK 2022 Tour Dates
31st Mar Queen’s Hall Arts Centre, Hexham
1st Apr The Witham, Barnard Castle
2nd Apr Alnwick Playhouse
6th Apr Parabola Arts Centre, Cheltenham
8th Apr Watermark Theatre, Ivybridge
9th Apr The Brewhouse Theatre & Arts Centre, Taunton
Dee Anderson is an immensely strong, inspirational and empowering woman who is currently leading an important campaign to bring justice to her mother, Sylvia Anderson and ensure that she receives the recognition for her work and creativity; recognition which rightfully belongs to Sylvia.
During her lifetime, as a result of a patriarchal system, Sylvia found herself omitted from the work and creations which she produced alongside her husband, Gerry Anderson. To this day, these productions are still referred to as being work by Gerry Anderson with no mention of co-creator, Sylvia.
Sylvia Anderson was a pioneer. She subverted the expectations of the time and achieved greatness through her intelligence and exceptional talent and creativity; greatness which was denied to so many women of the time. Yet, Sylvia fought this and leaves a legacy of work which has brought joy to generations of people all over the world. This is a woman who should be celebrated, not eradicated.. Sylvia contributed so much, not simply to the television productions, but to women throughout history. She was an icon and yet society has allowed her voice, her achievement and her legacy to be silenced.
Sylvia’s story is a significant one as these issues remain in society today. Worldwide, women are still being denied their voice and their due recognition which is a serious concern. In many ways, society’s attitudes towards women has progressed significantly. However, the fact that the debate still exists demonstrates that the problem remains endemic worldwide. Why, in 2021, are we still having this argument? Why should this argument exist at all? It would seem that, like Sylvia, women are still suffering the effects of a patriarchal system in which intolerance of women’s equality is still a factor. Why is women’s equality so important? It is important because the key word is equality. If equality does not exist for one section of society then how can equality exist at all? This is not a debate simply about Sylvia Anderson. It is not just about women. It is about society as a whole. No person has a right to deny anybody their voice. No person has a right to deny anybody their existence. No person has a right to take away a person’s identity. If we ignore Sylvia Anderson’s story, then we ignore the story of millions and this is simply not an option.
It is right and just that Sylvia should no longer be denied the recognition which belongs to her. In 1928, Virginia Woolf wrote, ‘I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.’ It is a sad reality that in 2021 this is still relevant. Let’s change this. It is time to give Sylvia, and all women, their voice and their rightful place in the world.