Finbar Wright returned to the Theatre Royal to caress, to woo and to please a capacity audience. He was a singing charmer, rather than a charming singer and with a happy mix of Irish ballads, Latin and Spanish love songs, a touch of regret, a passage of Leonard Cohen, a rocking La Bamba, he blazed away. His audience found it easy to fall in love, in rapture, with Finbar Wright, such is his smiling magic.
He brought a strong onstage orchestra with Andy O’Callaghan on keyboards, two acoustic guitars, a double bass, a drummer, a fine violinist Carol Daly, and a trio of girl singers. He praised the venue and loved the wallpaper.
In a pin-stripe dark suit and sparkly shoes he tested the echo with Strangers in the Night but soon it was Old Friends, Times of Sorrows, Times of Joy. He does a schmaltzy waltzy Dean Martin with Sway and he was a floras Italian tenor with Do You Remember a Night in September. The Colin McGlynn Latin Trio as part of his band, delighted with sentiments and other Spanish pieces.
He was magnificent as the dark wavy haired Irish tenor for Just a Song at Twilight and he went all Latin lover a la Engelbert for Valentines. He does regret with a lovely touch of sadness for Sweet 16, You Were Always On My Mind, The Contender and a brill Unchanging Melody.
He opened the second half with I Can’t Stop Loving You, South of the Border and a dancy Leonard Cohen, Dance Me to the End of Love. A Beatles, Let It be had a spiritual feel, before his Volare was like a patter song.
His band was splendid and such a treat and his girl singers – The Cookies, rocked for Blame It On the Bossa Nova, then it was Elvis with Johnny Mercer’s Wise Men Say – Take My Hand….My Whole Life Through.
Then he raised the tempo with a finale of Whatever You Believe, his 2007 hit. A powerful La Bamba with lots of Arriba Arriba as he slipped the happy tenor to Josef Locke’s Blaze Away.
He sent his audience home happy and humming with an early Valentine’s caress of love and enjoyment.