Thank-you BADAC – Review

Thank-you BADAC
Brewhouse arts centre,
Union Street, Burton.
A hugely entertaining evening of songs, dance, musical theatre, spoken word, visual art and instrumental entertainment – plus a touch of magic – was performed by past recipients of bursary awards from Burton and District Arts Council (BADAC).
Put together by John and Coral Gould, this fund-raising concert for BADAC gave a few of the many talented performers who have been supported by BADAC the opportunity to show what they have achieved.
The most striking thing, for me, was how the performers showcased in this production have moved on from their bursary-winning presentations. Even those who were bursary winners only this year demonstrated how much they have grown in both stature and belief.
The show’s opener was Wil Pearson, playing piano and singing Mr Bojangles with a voice and a style that belied his years.
In a packed first section Keely Russell caught the eye dancing to both My Lady D’Arbanville and also with her sister Holly in the finale of the half dancing to The Devil Went Down to Georgia.
Also in the first half we had songs from Holly Russell, Shannon Smith, Alisha Khan and Amy Glover and monologues from James Vickers, Tom Pritchard, Libby Cox and Anna Sykes.
Alisha Khan also entertained on the flute, as did Phoebe Hawthorn. Rebecca Fisher introduced a touch of Broadway by singing and tapping her way through 42nd Street.
A strong contender for highlight of the evening was Jack Dent’s magic routine at the start of the second act. He had the auditorium both in stitches – “I’m looking for the most beautiful woman in the audience to help me with this next trick – ok any woman in the audience” – and bemused by his sleight of hand.
Since Jack received his bursary he has studied his chosen craft well and now has a flourishing magic business. He was at pains to point out that he had always wanted to be a magician and that the bursary he obtained enabled him to take up his profession and now he had his own  business and was passing on his skills to the next generation.
Katie Ireland’s number from Legally Blonde was the highlight for me. She didn’t let a technical hitch with her music bother her – and when the track started she just sailed through the song brilliantly. All credit to her for showing a truly professional attitude.
Along with Jack and Katie in the second half, vocally we had Ewan Bourne – always outstanding – Kathryn Monteiro on the cello and Laura Sherratt and Georgia Evans with monologues. Sadly for the audience Emma Monteiro had lost her voice and was unable to perform.
On the visual art front we had artwork from Lucy Halliday and a short film of a work in progress from Sam Pearson.
The evening was brought to a thunderous conclusion by Tom Hawthorn with a drum improvisation.
The Chairman of Burton and District Arts Council, Geoff Thompson, thanked Coral and John Gould for their efforts in organising the evening and wished John a speedy recovery from the ‘flu that had prevented him from attending. He told the performers: “Sometimes, BADAC can feel bogged down and very weary of all the administrative processes involved in operating our annual arts bursary scheme for young people.” “Tonight we have been inspired and feel proud to see the tangible results of your hard work, progress and achievement.” “Thank you for giving us a renewed impetus to continue to support local ambitious, talented youngsters in their efforts to pursue a career in the arts.”
The accompanist was Ania Alecksa.

Bill Pritchard.

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