Marina Prior : A Christmas Celebration
Regal Theatre, Kensington Park
Friday 3rd & Saturday 4th December
[Review by John Glennie]
I am not usually a Christmas Carol person. but I do like the beautiful voice of Marina Prior, and I was certainly not disappointed. It was also my first time in the delightful Regal Theatre.
Marina had a great backing band headed by David Cameron on the grand piano and acoustic guitar. Though my partner and I couldn’t help noticing that the drummer looked totally bored for most of the evening – but he did seem to have a good rapport with David!
Marina started the evening with a few carols – kicking off with O Come All Ye Faithful. The name of the second Carol escapes me (sorry!). She then told the story of how, when pregnant with her second child (a son), she was presenting at Carols By Candlelight and her obstetrician said he was watching at home with one hand on the remote and the other on his car keys, watching for signs of strain on her face! Luckily the baby held off until the following morning – hence her love for Mary’s Boy Child.
She gave us a break from Carols and did a superb medley of Andrew Lloyd Webber songs from her musical theatre days. This was my favourite part of the evening as she picked four of my favourites from Evita, Jesus Christ Superstar, Phantom Of The Opera and Cats. Then, it was back to the Carols where she requested 12 members of the audience to come on stage and participate. My partner thought I should be one, so I was #6 (six geese a-laying) which I had to sing seven times as she subsequently ran back and forth from days seven to twelve for the Twelve Days Of Christmas! Great fun, and my brief moment of “fame”? She finished the set with a traditional favourite from her Celtic (Irish / Scottish) heritage Be Thou My Vision.
The second set started with a couple of songs with just Marina accompanied by David on acoustic guitar. Away In A Manger was closely followed by What Child Is This which uses the beautiful music of Greensleeves – the latter reputedly composed by Henry VIII for his future love Anne Boleyn! She then had the band and the enthusiastic crowd helping with Silent Night. A huge compliment was paid by Marina to the audience, who also helped with the next song: Hark The Herald Angels Sing.
We were then treated to another Phantom song, Music Of The Night, which was originally written for her role in the production but which Andrew Lloyd Webber gave to the Phantom whom he thought needed another song in that early part of the play. Marina “stole” it back for tonight and did it superbly. She rounded off the night with another Angels We Have Heard and, after a brief exit from the stage, an awesome version of the Celtic favourite Auld Lang Syne.
My only criticism was too much talking. Yes, it is nice to get to know the performer better, but can be overdone. I find John Farnham and Tina Arena are other culprits in this area. We go to these shows to hear them sing their beautiful songs with magnificent voices! Perhaps just my opinion.
OVerall, a superb evening for only her second live performance in Adelaide since the dreaded COVID! It also made me realise that Christmas Carols really are beautiful pieces of music – still not sure it was enough to make me listen to them again though. The next few weeks will tell. I do have an album of favourite Carols performed by rock bands, titled Wishing You A Metal Xmas And A Head-Banging New Year! Perhaps I will stick to that but slot in the traditional versions 😜.