Sprinkling more festive cheer in the musical theatre world, the organisers of Giggin’ For Good held another of their concerts at the Union Theatre on December 8th in order to raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital. Incredibly the show was sold out in less than 24 hours, and the Union was nicely full for the festivities.
Usually the Giggin’ For Good team use the St. Paul’s Actors Church in Covent Garden but instead opted for the smaller Union Theatre for their Christmas show which I was very happy with as I love the Union and the intimacy of the venue. Due to the production they have on at the minute, Seasons Greetings, the performance space was already perfectly decorated with a lavished Christmas tree and presents.
The evening was hosted by Ben Vivian-Jones and he opened the show with a re-telling of a Christmas tale with alterations to fit Giggin’ For Good and theatre into it. Then a group of the performers performed a lovely rendition of Somewhere in My Memory from Home Alone. Rosie Ladkin was then introduced to sing a cheeky Santa Baby, wearing the perfect outfit for it too! After her Shaun McCourt gorgeously sang Believe, which was followed by a duet from Natalie Gray and Ciaran O’Driscoll with a sweet Last Christmas.
After this section Ben came back in his onesie and slippers to introduce the next acts, first of which was him duetting with We Will Rock You‘s Katie Paine in Fairytale of New York in which Katie had us all laughing with her brilliant reactions to Ben and just thoroughly entertaining us. Giggin’ For Good’s “own Beach Boys”, Jordan, Nathan, Harry and David then sang Little Saint Nick with slick harmonies and jingles! Charlotte Bradford gave a hilarious rendition of Jason Robert Brown’s Surabaya-Santa, giving her best diva Mrs. Claus.
In the third segment Anna Haresnape gave a lovely acoustic All I Want For Christmas, accompanied by George Jennings on guitar. She made it a really different version of the song giving it a fresh feel which I really enjoyed.
The incomparable Rachel Tucker then returned to the spotlight to perform Joni Mitchell’s solemnly stunning River which, even though I’ve heard Rachel sing it live before, still gives me goosebumps. In this she was beautifully accompanied by the night’s musical director, Marc McBride. Shifting the mood completely she then brought up Jordan and Nathan to sing with her. Looking very starstruck and a bit nervous, they sang Something Stupid with Rachel and I think she took full advantage of making them blush as much as possible. That’s a performance they’ll never forget! Even Ben commented afterwards, “for Jordan and Nathan that was a dream come true, but I think Rachel was having the most fun!” which seemed totally true!
Andrew Bateup then performed My Grown Up Christmas List and also accompanied himself on the piano, sounding beautiful with this reflective Christmas number. The Goldstone Girls then performed a really alternative interesting rendition of Silent Night which I really enjoyed.
Following a short interval and the raffle being drawn we were then treated to a worldwide premiere of a song from Parallel Production’s new Christmas charity EP – Do They Know It’s Christmas?, which can be found on A Very West End Christmas. It’s now available on iTunes, Amazon etc and a portion of the money raised from it is going to Great Ormond Street Hospital as is the money from Giggin’ For Good. This single alone features around fifty West End stars, the EP contains 5 gorgeous Christmas songs in total and considering it’s only something like £3.59 it is well worth the spend!
A duet of Winter Wonderland was then sang by David Booth and Marika Visser before Jennifer Potts and Katie Paine paired up for a sublime rendition of Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time. Leigh Lothian then stunningly sang White Christmas. A brilliant jazzy version of Let It Snow was sang by a quartet made up of Rosie, Charlotte, Anna and Natalie, shaking up the original song and making it their own, it was fantastic!
Host Ben was then joined by Amy Ward to perform A Christmas Story from the musical of the same name, a sweet song reminiscing on Christmas Day. Following this Marcus Ayton sang a smooth This Christmas which had the audience all clapping along! Rosie and Harry sang a fantastically upbeat Jingle Bells, in which we were all bopping to, it was such a fun rendition. Then Jodie Steele, who I saw in Bare recently and loved, sang Whitney Houston’s Who Would Imagine a King, hopefully she did Ben proud as he mentioned previous to this that it was his favourite song! I’m sure she did, because she sounded amazing.
Jordan and Nathan sang the last song of the evening which was O Holy Night and performed brilliantly together, before Ben gave the last round of thanks to everyone involved in the evening. It’s always lovely to attend a concert where it’s for charity as there’s more of a buzz and enthusiasm surrounding the event, the love and Christmas joy was certainly there for Giggin’ For Good!
Follow the Giggin’ For Good team on Twitter for more info!