Storm Large with the RTE Concert Orchestra at The National Concert Hall, March 14th 2015.
Storm Large is a bold, brash, beautiful and brilliant American entertainer, the RTE Concert Orchestra are professional and in full flight. They are thrilling; Kurt Weill’s The Seven Deadly Sins is full of darkness, abuse, melodrama and sex, in the correct context it is a provocative piece of theatre. Ms Large and the RTE Concert Orchestra are more than qualified to bring this piece to life but in a pared back first half production in the National Concert Hall on Tuesday night they don’t and it’s a great pity.
Storm Large appears on stage in a drab coat, hair pulled back next to a tiny and precarious looking table. She tried her best to bring this sensual piece to life (and she oozes sensuality) but the close proximity to the orchestra, the lack of space, a missing alter ego dancer, which the piece is written for, means that Storm must do it all herself. She warms to the task and by the end it becomes more engaging but there is just too much to contrive from the outset and it is never quite pulled off. The male vocal quartet sing the part of her judging and small town family and were perfectly capable performers to carry off the music, however the stiff tuxedoed group on the other side of the stage failed to conjure up the oppressive role they were handed.
The second half opens with the RTE Concert Orchestra conducted with intelligence by Robert Ziegler. They perform Aaron Copland’s Four Dance Episodes from Rodeo, a quintessentially American quartet of work. The flute of Joshua Batty and oboe of Suzie Thorn interplay beautifully in Saturday Night Waltz. The orchestra explode in an oxymoronic harmonic cacophony for the Buckaroo Holiday, and the glorious Hoe – Down is a rambunctious explosion of sound rich in exuberant colour from the beefed up brass section.
Storm Large comes into her own in the second half; she sings a collection of songs that are primarily American but include the french Ne me quitte pas/If you go away by Jacques Brel/Rod McKuen. She is a tour de force during the creative reimagining of Cole Porter’s I’ve got you under my skin, and is vocally and emotionally at her best in this luscious orchestral arrangement. Mia Cooper on violin sensitively intercedes adding a surprising poignancy to the Great American standard.
She utterly charms the audience with her vivacious, unapologetically American demeanor and commentary. A wry smile and Jim Steinman’s Total Eclipse of the Heart was on everyones lips as they left the auditorium.
Soloist: Storm Large
Conductor: Robert Ziegler
RTE Concert Orchestra
Tenor: Patrick Hyland
Tenor: David Lynn
Baritone: Benjamin Russell
Bass: Barnaby Rea
Kurt Weill/Berlocht Brecht: Die Sieben Todsunden/The Seven Deadly Sins
Prologue, I. Sloth, II. Pride, III. Anger, IV.Gluttony, V. Lust, VI. Covetousness, VII. Envy, Epilogue
Copland: Four Dance Episodes from Rodeo
i. Buckaroo Holiday
ii. Corral Nocturne
iii. Saturday Night Waltz
Cole Porter: I’ve Got You Under My Skin
Randy Newman: I Think it’s Going to Rain Today
Jacques Brel/Rod McKeun: Ne me quitte pas/If You Go Away
Richard Rodgers/Lorenz Hart: The Lady is a Tramp
Richard Rodgers/ Arr. Don Walker: Slaughter on Tenth Avenue
Jim Steinman: Total Eclipse of the Heart