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Rhonda Burchmore on Broadway - Review

Home > Brisbane > Music Venues | Concerts | Musicals
by John Andrew (subscribe)
I enjoy "fine dining", presenting programs on radios 4MBS, MBS Light and 4RPH and going to drama and music at Brisbane theatres.
Divine Diva, great new talent, big band

The lady can sell a song who could doubt it and can she make an entrance!

Sashaying down the central staircase in form fitting, long legs enhancing, diamante sparking gowns, Rhonda Burchmore was less bel canto, more can belto as she encouraged us to "Get Happy", channelled her inner "Broadway Baby", advised us to "Wish upon a star" and warned us not to "Rain on my Parade".

The lady can certainly sing and as she herself said, it certainly helps to be backed by a Big Band.

And was it ever.

This was a band that brought back memories of the Hollywood extravaganza days, with a wonderful brass section, a maverick (possibly manic) pianist and an infectious energy. They were great backing the songs, but came into their own when given their head in "Chicago" and "A Chorus Line".

Even the terminally clumsy must have been tempted to throw their hands in the air and dance.

We expected Rhonda to be great, and she was, giving a rendition of "All That Jazz" that would have made Streisand contemplate retirement, channelling Munroe in "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend, and Evita in "Don't Cry for Me Argentina".

But the bonus of the evening was the Queensland Musical Theatre's "emerging artists".

Australia has got talent, and these young people demonstrated it over and over again. Paul Sabey, their guru, impresario and Svengali is to be congratulated on helping to bring on such performers.

The audience were responding as if we were at a talent show, as in a sense we were. If there is any justice (and in the show business world you also need more than your fair share of serendipity) surely some of these superb voices will "make it" in the next few years.

From their opening "New World" by Jason Brown to their superbly harmonised "Tonight" with close to a hundred voices lifting the Concert Hall roof they could hardly put a foot wrong. Standouts? They were all good, but Tom Armstrong Robley's "Stars" and Hayden Roger's "This is the Moment" were unforgettable.

Patrick Pickett looked relaxed, urbane (dare I use "avuncular" again?) and enjoyed making his own entrance down those MGM-like stairs.

This was a great night.

How encouraging to see such great young talent. How great to see a diva at the top of her game. How thrilling to hear a Big Band, licensed to thrill.

If you were to gather from all this that your humble reviewer thought that this was his best Queensland Pops concert to date, you would be right.

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Why? Best Queensland Pops concert
When: 13 August
Where: QPAC Concert Hall
Cost: $89
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