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Published by: Steve Burbridge on 22nd Nov 2012 | View all blogs by Steve Burbridge


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Encore – The Customs House, South Shields

There’s something reassuringly cosy and familiar about Encore. Like a favourite pair of slippers, you know that as soon as they go on you will feel comfortable, soothed and relaxed.

There are those who might say that the group are slightly predictable and a little formulaic, but it would take a brave soul to voice such dissent in the Customs House, where a large band of loyal followers flock to see the group perform their cabaret shows, again and again.

In fact, Encore are masters of their craft and they adhere to the old adage of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. I have had the pleasure of watching productions by them on several previous occasions, so it is a rare treat to arrive at a theatre safe in the knowledge that you are guaranteed a great night’s entertainment.

Proceedings got off to a rousing start with a medley of upbeat band-themed numbers including Come Follow The Band, Alexander’s Rag Time Band, 76 Trombones and, a personal favourite of mine, Before The Parade Passes By from Hello, Dolly!

Then, the mood turns to the romantic with a selection of love songs by Burt Bacharach, such as Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head, Close To You and I Say A Little Prayer. The songs, as always, are utilised to facilitate the storyline of the sketch that is taking place simultaneously.

The spotlight is also shone on the world of musical theatre, with both Billy Elliot and Mary Poppins receiving the Encore treatment. If I were to nit-pick at all, it would be to suggest that the Mary Poppins segment went on for slightly too long. That said, I wouldn’t have wanted them to omit the brilliant performance of Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious which the audience and myself absolutely loved!

The highlight of the second act, for me, was a wonderful foray into pantoland where all the familiar characters (Snow White, Cinderella, Goldilocks, Captain Hook, The Wicked Queen, The Ugly Sisters, Buttons and Peter Pan) were present. However, it was Caroline Wells (as an hilarious Humpty Dumpty) and Gareth Hunter (as a terrific Tinkerbell) who stole the show, with Patricia Haws’ principal boy thigh-slapping pins taking a well-deserved third place.

Once again, Encore has proven that variety is alive and well. We, in the North East, are fortunate to have this calibre of entertainment performed live on stage in such a beautiful venue as the Customs House. If I had my way, Encore would have a prime-time slot on Saturday night television, too!

Steve Burbridge.

Runs until Saturday 24th November 2012.
Tickets (£8-£13): Buy Online


1 Comment

  • Cameron Lowe
    by Cameron Lowe 5 years ago
    Sounds like a great night, Steve. Thanks
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