Pomp! Circumstance! Music! Merriment! Mirth! It was all present at the St. James Studio in an explosive feast of flag waving and patriotism. And not only that … it was Martin’s birthday! So the traditional audience participation of the ‘Last Night of the Proms’ extended past ‘Rule Britannia’ and ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ into a rousing chorus in honour of Martin’s special day.
This was a joy of a show to create, and our first opportunity to explore themed material. The Best of British was represented by composers from all eras – from Ivor Novello and Noel Coward right through to Elton John and Andrew Lloyd Webber, the latter being the subject of our new mash-up medley. ‘The Complete Works of Andrew Lloyd Webber’ was performed in just seven minutes, with each and every one of the celebrated composer’s shows represented.
The new format of the ‘Proms’ was a complete departure from our normal show structure – and fortunately the audience responded marvellously! We made some new friends from America, who had dropped in to see our show on the ‘off chance’, and we were delighted to raise money for our friends from the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust. It was great that so many of their commemorative CDs were sold after the show, with all proceeds in aid of the Trust, helping preserve the legacy of The Few who saved our country in 1940.
It was a gala evening for musical lovers with three Grand Dames of The Theatre in attendance, all waving their flags with zeal: Jean Bayless – the original ‘Maria’ from The Sound of Music, West End, 1961; Elizabeth Seal – the Tony Award winning Broadway star of Irma la Douce; and the legendary Fenella Fielding, icon of stage, screen and Carry On. Thank you for your support, ladies.
And a special mention to Ros Swetman, a loyal follower who came all the way down from Norwich with her friend Julie to see our latest show. Ros first discovered Ferris & Milnes earlier this year when we performed at Norfolk’s Auden Theatre in Holt … but when she made the trip to London to catch the Proms she never guessed that she’d end up conducting the audience for us in ‘Rule Britannia’! Thank you, Ros – you were a great sport!
It was a lovely way to spend an evening – and a birthday! Many wonderful images were captured for us by Sarah Sutherland-Rowe Photography.