While the title might have been a bit of a misnomer – Festival Favourites – the WIFLO concert at Christ Church Cathedral was a potent reminder of the loss of an Opera Festival this year. Thirty miles away the Wexford Festival Opera was thriving in a new theatre and the Theatre Royal on the Mall was dark, silent and a brooding reminder of a lack of ambition and bureaucratic diddering.
In association with WLRfm, this concert brought together some of the finest singers in musical theatre, without any international dimension unfortunately, and the programme featured at least ten shows never performed in the Festival.
The Edmund Rice Choral and Musical Society provided fine choral excerpts for the entertainment of others and the enjoyment of themselves, as their mission statement says. A young and rocking society, G2, brought ten singers to provide humour from Spamalot and a rocking good Hair selection.
Todd Brothers was expressive in songs like, I Won’t Send Roses and his final selection was a wonderful example of his interpretive skill with a beautiful Fine, Fine Line from Avenue Q, a glorious reminder of Being Alive from Company and a nostalgic Try To Remember from The Fantastics and the repeating line – try to remember the kind of September – and a lot of Festival memories – good and wonderful memories, came flooding back.
Jenny McCabe was pleasing but Ray Collins was amazing over three octaves, as he held the audience spellbound with Anthem, Getsemane, Stars and Bring Him Home.
Gay Kirwan was excellent as accompanist and Sean Dower reassured that the 50th Festival should take place in 2009, but perhaps a little later into November.