The Last Night of the Welsh Proms, St David's Hall

4:39pm Monday 28th July 2014

 Following a wonderful week packed full with diverse music, the Welsh Proms 2014 drew to a stunning close on Saturday evening.

The Russian Prom, St David’s Hall, Cardiff

4:37pm Monday 28th July 2014

This penultimate night of the 2014 Welsh Proms saw the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra arrive in Cardiff.

Tinariwen at St David’s Hall in Cardiff

4:36pm Monday 28th July 2014

It was time for a complete change of pace and atmosphere at the World Music Prom on Thursday evening.

Into the Woods, St David's Hall

12:40pm Friday 25th July 2014

As their contribution to the Welsh Proms the young members of the Unknown Theatre company tackled Stephen Sondheim's enchanting melange of faitytales. It is a musical with an ingenious mix of light and darkness with plenty of challenges for director and cast.Musically it contains some of the composer's finest music with some memorable songs such as 'Children will listen' and 'No one is alone' .

Paul Weller, Cardiff Castle

12:39pm Friday 25th July 2014

 Summer so far has lent itself well to the many outdoor, ‘festival-feel’ concerts, and a well-lit, Cardiff castle proved a spectacular setting for the Paul Weller road show.

Singin' in the Rain

1:15pm Thursday 24th July 2014

The centre of Bristol was last night filled with people wandering around with an inane grin on their faces and with a distinct aura of happiness. They had just witnessed a performance of 'Singin' in the rain' that could not fail to ellicit such a reaction.

Capital City Jazz Orchestra with Clare Teal

1:14pm Thursday 24th July 2014

Later in the evening, Cardiff's own Capital City Jazz Orchestra took the stage with an evening of Big Band music.

Organ Prom, St David's Hall

1:13pm Thursday 24th July 2014

An hour-long performance by organ duo Robert Court and Jeffrey Howard in Four Hands, Four Feet, featured a variety of styles ranging from Mozart symphonies to John Williams' film themes on Tuesday lunchtime.

Showboat, Wales Millennium Centre

2:56pm Wednesday 23rd July 2014

The musical that, more than any other, signalled the beginning of a whole new artform - the American musical -still has the ability to shock and to delight in equal measure and its themes of inter-racial marriage, gambling,alcoholism and of haves and have-nots are contemporary ones. Cape Town Opera brought to Cardiff much of the rawness of the original and included authentic racist language (usually revised in later productions since it first appeared in 1927) which ,in places,still makes for uncomfortable viewing. 'Showboat' is, of course, not an expression of racism but a depiction of it, though the nature of this depiction can seem stereotypical today.

Chas & Dave, The Riverfront

1:39pm Tuesday 22nd July 2014

Its Chas & Dave's distinct knack of being able to pull songs out of the air and make them their own that makes them such great entertainers. After all, as Chas Hodges said at the Rockney duos gig at Newport Riverfront on Friday evening "In the old days when we played the London pubs its how we paid the rent. We didnt always know what we were doing but it usually turned out alright."

Deacon Blue, Westonbirt Arboretum

12:44pm Tuesday 22nd July 2014

Within minutes of Deacon Blue taking to the Westonbirt stage an enthusiastic crowd forgot their picnic baskets and surged to the front, to join, as Ricky Ross wryly put it, his ‘middle-aged mosh pit’.

Dawn French, Thirty Million Minutes Tour, New Theatre

9:55am Thursday 17th July 2014

A SELL-OUT audience were treated to an amazingly honest performance from comedienne, actress all round entertainer Dawn French in Cardiff last night (Wednesday July 16).

Sharon Fitzgerald School of Dance, Dance is the Answer, Dolman Theatre

11:36am Friday 4th July 2014

Over the years Sharon Fitzgerald-Higgins has trained scores of local students in many disciplines of dance, including, ballet, tap, jazz and modern as well as covering the full spectrum of arts in a very successful musical theatre class. Having been a professional singer and dancer herself, there isn’t anyone better-placed to bring out the best in her pupils.

Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story, New Theatre

1:43pm Wednesday 2nd July 2014

It’s amazing to think that in 18 short months of fame, Buddy Holly succeeded in revolutionising the path of rock n roll with artists including The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan acknowledging his influence.

James Blunt, St David's Hall

1:15pm Monday 30th June 2014

Love him or hate him it was clear on the latest leg of James Blunt’s world tour in Cardiff, that he is a born performer.

Mametz, National Theatre Wales, Great Llancayo Upper Wood near Usk

12:54pm Friday 27th June 2014

As befits such hugely resonant and emotive subject matter, National Theatre Wales’ large scale, site – specific production was a highly vivid and ultimately numbing experience.

Horrible Histories, New Theatre

12:51pm Friday 27th June 2014

Having seen one or two episodes of the children’s programme on the box I was not sure quite how it would transfer to the stage.The answer is – successfully , especially if you are aged between 7 and 15.

Starlight Express, Dolman Theatre

10:27am Thursday 26th June 2014

 The Young Venture Players are never afraid of a challenge, so there was nothing unusual about this feisty little group staging Andrew Lloyd Webber’s, unique musical, Starlight Express.

Dolly Parton, Motorpoint Arena

1:51pm Wednesday 25th June 2014

Glamorous, glittering, gobsmacking – this pint size mega-star “moseyed” onto the stage at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena, clad in a white rhinestone encrusted dress, beneath a background video of flames to deliver a plethora of hits, starting with the Fire Medley and getting the crowd’s vocal chords warmed up with a faultless rendition of Jolene, donning her guitar, the first of many outfit matching instruments including piano, violin, penny whistle, banjo and mini saxophone , all showcasing Dolly Parton’s huge talent as a musician and songwriter of the past five decades. Her familiar and candid relationship with her audience was in evidence as she shared memories from her poor, but loving “growing up years” with her “momma and daddy” in the Smoky Mountains with songs like My Mountain My Home, Coat of Many Colours and the current single, Home, from her new album, Blue Smoke. A Bob Dylan fan, Dolly put her own spin on Don’t Think Twice and belted out a gospel version of Bon Jovi’s Lay Your Hands on Me. Dolly’s unfailing vocal range shone through in her acapella version of Little Sparrow. The set was infused with messages from Ms Parton to be caring, sharing and kind to eachother, expressed in songs like Real Love and Think About Love and was balanced out with her amusing confessions about her beauty secrets. I particularly enjoyed her lapse of memory regarding which hair she was wearing – Costa Rican or Italian! Here You Come Again and one of my favourites, Islands in the Stream, got the crowd singing along and they were up on their feet for Two Doors Down and 9 to 5. This 26 song set closed with Dolly’s biggest hit, I Will Always Love You, leaving the crowd in no doubt that they will always love her right back.

Sinfonia Cymru, The Riverfront

12:48pm Tuesday 24th June 2014

Sinfonia Cymru is a diverse concept as well as a terrific young orchestra of professionals, a fact illustrated by this performance from beginning to end.

Big Mac's Wholly Soul Band, Newport Centre

2:35pm Monday 23rd June 2014

 Almost a quarter of a century after its first gig and by now an institution in South Wales, the ten-piece band led by lead vocalist and focal point of the band, Michael McNamara , played to a full house at the Riverside Suite.

War Horse, Wales Millennium Centre

5:24pm Thursday 19th June 2014

THE National Theatre's phenomenally successful and multi-award winning show made its eagerly anticipated bow at Cardiff Bay last night and what a crowd pleaser it proved to be.

Pygmalion, Dolman Theatre, Newport

3:46pm Friday 13th June 2014

Taking to the Dolman stage this week, is the Newport playgoers society production of Pygmalion.

Drenge, Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff

3:31pm Friday 13th June 2014

Drenge, Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff

The Sooty Show, Newport Riverfront

9:45am Friday 13th June 2014

The phrase “Izzy wizzy, let’s get busy!” was uttered once again by children and grown-ups alike on Saturday morning when the first of two performances of the Sooty Show played to a packed Riverfront Theatre.

Nine Inch Nails, Motorpoint Arena

3:56pm Tuesday 27th May 2014

Nine Inch Nails, at the Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff, was a visual and aural assault on the senses. For an hour and forty minutes, they played almost non-stop – the only breaks being the encore and testing a synth pad which had “blown up”.

Formby, The Riverfront

3:53pm Tuesday 27th May 2014

Ewan Wardrop’s much praised tribute show to entertainer George Formby played the final date of its current tour at Newport Riverfront on Friday evening.

Welsh National Opera, Wales Millennium Centre

3:49pm Tuesday 27th May 2014

 An opera company able to extricate itself from an eleventh-hour fix as WNO did before the premiere of its new production of Schoenberg's Moses and Aaron is likely to deliver on other fronts.

Barry Manilow: Motorpoint Arena

3:03pm Friday 23rd May 2014

GLOW sticks at the ready, the audience in a dancing mood and, being Welsh, a singing mood too, we all went wild to welcome Barry Manilow back to Cardiff.

Swansea City Opera, The Riverfront

9:25am Thursday 22nd May 2014

Few if any operas can match Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro for its combination of plot twists, memorable comic characters and sublime music.

Let It Be, New Theatre

1:06pm Wednesday 21st May 2014

Billed as a ‘Beatles show’, ‘Let it be’ is in fact an unabashed tribute concert featuring virtually all of their best known songs (more than 40 of them)and charting their progress from The Cavern Club through the rise of Beatlemania to their psychedelic zenith with masterpieces such as ‘Lucy in the sky with diamonds’ and ‘A Day in the life’.

Oklahoma, Dolman Theatre

12:36pm Wednesday 21st May 2014

In their 56 years, this certainly wasn’t the first time that STC Musical Society entertained with a production of Oklahoma, but, dare I say that it was one of their most successful?

Coleg Gwent Chorale, Coleg Gwent Crosskeys

12:51pm Monday 19th May 2014

Not many choral societies are willing to be specific about the difficulties of the music they are about to perform.

Catrin Finch and Seckou Keita Borough Theatre, Abergavenny

12:25pm Friday 16th May 2014

It’s a six-hour flight from Britain to Senegal, so the musician Seckou Keita and his West African harp - the kora - were figuratively a long way from home at this concert.

Anything Goes, Christchurch Church Hall

12:17am Friday 16th May 2014

Christchurch Music Society's former chairman and president, Ernest (Nobby) Fuller sadly passed away this year so for me, it wasn't without sadness that I took my familiar seat, for their latest production, Anything Goes.

Robert Cray, St David's Hall

12:15am Friday 16th May 2014

While Robert Cray's music has always paid a debt to the masters that came before, his unique sound has the ability to melt blues and make it accessible to the MTV generation.

Duets, Dolman Theatre

4:18pm Thursday 15th May 2014

Duets, the current Newport Playgoers production is a bit of a toughie to review, if only for the fact that it seems unjust to attempt to give four excellent comedy two-handers the same space usually afforded to one show.

Things We Do For Love, New Theatre

10:48am Wednesday 14th May 2014

Four superb performances and a gravity-defying set ensured an evening of great theatre for an appreciative audience at Cardiff's, New Theatre.

Robot Wars, Newport Centre

9:59am Tuesday 13th May 2014

10 months after their last visit, Robot Wars was back at Newport Centre over the weekend for further demonstrations in robotic style, aggression and total damage.

London Symphony Chorus St. David’s Hall, Cardiff

1:49pm Monday 12th May 2014

When you’ve spent the best part of a week rehearsing a difficult but short piece of music for public performance, it might be worth giving it a double airing.

Cor Y Dreigiau - Llantarnam School

1:47pm Monday 12th May 2014

Saturday evening was a big occasion for the resident choir of the Gwent Dragons as they made the significant transition from being a group whose primary function has so far been to provide the preliminaries to rugby matches at Rodney Parade(albeit that they were officially judged Wales' best in this capacity since winning a televised competition in 2007) and giving guest concert appearances, to being the main centre of attention before a packed audience.

Newport Philharmonic Choir St Julian’s Methodist Church, Newport

1:45pm Monday 12th May 2014

Newport Philharmonic Choir St Julian’s Methodist Church, Newport By Nigel Jarrett Newport Phil’s silver jubilee concert was both a celebration and a demonstration of musical and physical agility.

First Wednesday Recital, The Riverfront

3:11pm Thursday 8th May 2014

Rarely do the Riverfront’s monthly lunchtime recitals include a world premiere, especially for the relatively unusual combination of singer, pianist and cellist.

BBCNOW : Dylan Thomas' Centenary - Wales Millennium Centre

11:54am Wednesday 7th May 2014

Considering that this was part of of a Radio 3 Dylan Thomas day the links with the poet were surprisingly tenuous. There was a work by Dylan's composer friend Daniel Jones, conductor Tecwyn Evans had a parent from 'the ugly,lovely town' of Swansea though he hailed from New Zealand (names can be misleading), and the programme comprised a first half of Welsh music and a second half from America,representing the countries in which he lived and died.

Monmouth Choral Society, Wyastone Leys, Monmouth

11:52am Wednesday 7th May 2014

 Of all the figures central to sacred choral works, Elijah in Mendelssohn’s oratorio of the same name is a gift for the right singer.

The Seekers, St David's Hall, Cardiff

Free Press Series: (5628009)

4:25pm Thursday 1st May 2014

The Seekers,

The Wiz, Dolman Theatre

12:01pm Thursday 1st May 2014

Centrestage Cymru may be a relatively new company, but the resident production team of Andre-Paul Spring, Victoria Bryant, Sharon Higgins and Peter Higgins have years of experience between them.

Scooby Doo Live, New Theatre

12:29pm Monday 21st April 2014

Okay let’s stop all this “it’s for the kids” nonsense, few cartoon series around at the moment span the generation gap quite as well as cartoon canine sleuth Scooby Doo and his friends can. Their spooky adventures are up there with the best and have been since Hanna-Barbera put out the first cartoon series towards the end of the 1960s.

The Searchers, The Riverfront

3:35pm Monday 14th April 2014

It may be 50 years since The Searchers topped the charts, but as the band consisting of John McNally, Frank Allen, Spencer James and Scott Ottaway showed on Friday night they have lost none of their fun and energy.

Under Milk Wood, Sherman Theatre

3:33pm Monday 14th April 2014

Whatever other qualities composer John Metcalf might possess, he’s certainly not short of courage.








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