REVIEW: An Evening with Hazel O’Connor at New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth

Hazel O'Connor

‘You drink your coffee and I sip my tea’ are opening lyrics that bring to mind one of the most memorable sax solos of all time. Hazel O’Connor’s Will You from Breaking Glass was of course a highlight of her show at the New Theatre Royal on Friday, with said solo stunningly performed by ex Bellestar (and David Bowie band) Sarah Hirst.

The other member of the trio, Sarah Fisher, formerly with Eurythmics also demonstrated her musical prowess on keyboard as Hazel led us on an autobiographical journey through her back catalogue.

From running away from home in Coventry at 16, via a year as a dancer in Japan and fleeing Beirut as war broke out we finally landed back in London for the iconic movie and Album that launched her career. The Breaking Glass tour, a falling out with her record company and years in court are all part of her colourful history.

The legally-enforced hiatus led her to spin off into jazz and gospel, all of which was covered in an impressive evening of music. Songs dedicated to departed friends and family, each with its own story which gave extra meaning to not only the lyrics but also to that soulful haunting sax that was a feature throughout. The hits were all here but that’s not the point. It would be easy for an eighties icon to provide a greatest hits show.

This was much more than that and all the more memorable for it.


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