Goodwill to all men...and boys

Russell Watson
Russell Watson

A standing ovation from what must have been 1,000 fans greeted the final encore for Russell Watson at Warwick Arts Centre on Saturday.

Some mums, dads and grandparents were also showing their appreciation for the 77-strong Warwickshire Boys’ Choir who sang several numbers with this “ People’s Tenor” who has filled stadiums all over the world.

One of the youngsters actually dueted with the star to deliver a spine tingling Pie Jesu while another sang Once In Royal David’s City solo.

Russell, this most unaffected of ‘stars’ wandered on stage without fuss or fanfare and within seconds had engulfed the Butterworth Hall in his rich, vibrant and so deceptively effortless operatic tones.

He held one note from Phantom of the Opera for so long I feared he would fall over. Not a bit of it. The former engineer and club singer who has overcome immense health problems simply moved swiftly on to Les Miserables and a peppering of other popular favourites.

Not all to my personal taste, but certainly to the taste of Russell’s legions of fans who applauded wildly after every song.

Surely this must be the most relaxed performer you’ll find anywhere, making time to exchange high fives with the choir and have a little fun with the conductor of the orchestra.

In fact the stage was so packed that the choir’s Gary Jones actually stood in the fourth row of the stalls to conduct his boys whose repertoire included Walking In The Air and a medley of Christmas carols, including one brave lad embarking with Russell on the introduction to what became a combined German and English version of Silent Night.

Goodwill swamped the theatre on the way out.

Barbara Goulden * 9.