REVIEW: Last Night of the Christmas Proms, Portsmouth Guildhall

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The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra is the gift that keeps on giving. Not only music but comedy, not only theatre but a visit from space.

No, Major Tim Peake did not drop in on his family’s local concert-hall but I swear I saw not only bearded ladies in the orchestra but tromboning spacemen.

BSO women flaunted their colourful finery, Santa hats abounded and the hall was bedecked in glittery tinsel.

This was showbiz allied to high-quality orchestral playing, with a couple of West End singers thrown in for good measure.

Shona Lindsey and Stephen Weller shone like Christmas stars in solos and duets from musical theatre. Their You And I from Chess, sung thoughtfully, was one highlight, and another was Shona’s tender Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again from The Phantom Of The Opera.

Conductor Pete<NOT Peter> Harrison presided expertly like a jolly Santa, minus whiskers and big belly.

In the final sequence, Ron Goodwin’s jazzed-up Jingle Bells was paraded with relish and Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree and Merry Christmas Everybody had the audience swaying and singing along.