Tone Talent – The Mayor’s Variety Show

Howard Jones

Howard Jones - Credit: Archant

A review of Taunton Mayor’s Variety Show by Sharon Grant Photos by Livvi Grant

Viva La Diva

Viva La Diva - Credit: Archant

Music lovers had a real treat at The Brewhouse Theatre when Taunton’s very own superstar Howard Jones topped the bill at Tone Talent, the Mayor’s Variety Show.

Taunton Musical Youth Theatre

Taunton Musical Youth Theatre - Credit: Archant

There was not one, but two shows in aid of the Taunton Theatre Association, TTA who are now running the Brewhouse and the Mayors Charities.

1980s legend Howard Jones, who lives locally and is a keen supporter of the Brewhouse, played an acoustic set at both the afternoon and evening performances, which included some of his biggest hits, I’d like to get to know you well, What is love and New Song. The shows were expertly compered by Taunton Thespian Martin Jevon who kept the audience entertained in between the acts and everyone, including the Mayor Libby Lisgo was wowed by a fabulous selection of local talent.

Showgirls and cabaret dancers Viva la Diva opened the show with burst of colourful costumes and some very large feathers, followed by super talented 14 year old singer/songwriter Jess Handley, dancers from the Nicky Jenks School of Dance, drama students from Taunton Academy, singers from Taunton Music School, the Castle School Steel Band and the beautiful and powerful voice of Laura Richmond whose rendition of the Eva Cassidy song, Over the Rainbow, captivated everyone in the audience.

Jan’s Jazz Band opened the second half of the show with a second appearance by Viva la Diva and then the audience were treated to a truly superb acoustic set from up and coming Folk artist, Elise Yuill, a singer/songwriter from South Somerset whose music has been described by Radio DJ, Sarah Vian as ‘Simple, soulful sounds that restore the world to order.’

Finally, the star of the show, Howard Jones made his debut appearance of the day on stage with his guitarist Robin Boult and proved that ‘once a superstar, always a superstar!’ His keyboard skills were effortless and his voice was as powerful as it was in the 80s when he was topping the charts all over the world!

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The evening show kicked off in ‘Las Vegas’ style with more from the Viva la Diva showgirls, followed by the well known local Barbershop singers, The Rivertones. Students from the SPACE delivered a moving and powerful drama piece written for the Think Amy Campaign called For the love of Amy followed by a vibrant performance of a medley of songs from the hit musical show, High School Musical by the Young Musical Theatre Company. Local comedienne, Laura Lexx had the audience in stitches with her stories of life in Brighton and her upbringing in Norton Fitzwarren, with local cover band FILTA managing to get the whole of the audience on their feet dancing with their covers of well known hits.

After the short interval, The Big Noise street band played in the aisles before performing an eclectic selection of music and Folk style singer Elise Yuill played more beautiful songs and wowed the audience with her stunning and soulful voice. Then, the moment that everyone had been waiting for, Howard Jones once again stole the show with his second effortless and perfect vocal performance of the day including hits from the 80’s and some of his newer material.

Tone Talent certainly lived up to its name and has put Taunton and the Brewhouse Theatre firmly back on the musical map!