Review by Danny GaisinThe musicians and concertmaster were in costume; the dancers of Freedom Studio – costumed; the audience – totally dressed up. And yours truly was fully attired for ‘Trick of Treating’. The somewhat abbreviated afternoon performance was aimed at a definitely younger audience, hence the selections and duration. Our seatmates were a 4-year old Alice and her slightly older brother. Observing their attentiveness and physical participation spoke well for the endeavour as well as the future of classical interest. Their mimicking of the conductor and fascination with the on-stage dancers defined total engrossment. The concert focal point was conclusively the conductor.
With maestro Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser arriving on stage as the Grim Reaper, then changing to an Afro-Caribbean visitor, then Darth Vader himself, he was totally in command of both the HPO’s musicians and especially the audience…young and old. His confidence; musical knowledge and informal manner was a pleasure to behold and enjoy. As a perk of the podium, it was his prerogative to modify the program but we still were able to enjoy a highly dramatic reading of Grieg’s ‘Hall of the Mountain King’ from Peer Gynt; and a visually rendered ‘Star Wars’- Phantom Menace interpreted by the ten young dancers from FREEDOM STUDIOS. Their athleticism, coordination and synchronization belied their age. Another of the group was Breanne Kelly who visually portrayed Gounod’s March of a Marionette’ – popularly recalled as Hitchcock’s TV theme. Kelly’s sense of balance, posture, lightfootedness and ability en pointe demonstrated tremendous talent and future potential.
Another children’s favourite was a solo dance on-stage as well as up and down the McIntyre Theatre aisles. Junelle Miguel was a semi-scary werewolf whose aerobic ability and gymnastic talent had those seated near us watching with widened eyes. Bartholomew-Poyser utilized a light sword to conduct another Star Wars theme, then his own arrangement of ‘Tiptoe Through the tulips’ (but sans ukulele). The Berlioz Hungarian March and Jackson’s “Thriller” completed the afternoon.
Post-curtain, another surprise. The number and age-range of groupies rushing the footlights to request ‘selfie’s with the conductor. Seems charisma is associated with more than just movie stars or a certain Prime Minister. Bartholomew-Poyser complied with grace and elan.
Note to his new fans – he’ll be back with the HPO in February.