Blues in the night twofold at Cast

Clare Teal

Clare Teal

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Kiss me like you mean it - Cast

Very much a play of two halves, this witty and, ultimately, devastating tale is the first work at Cast to be directed by a Doncaster resident.

Kevin Spence, best known for his outstanding work at the Little Theatre, takes control of the second stage at the £22million Cast venue, and he does it with some style.

Chris Chibnell’s play is set at 3am on a warm night in the back garden of a house in Doncaster where the party inside is just coming to an end.

Tony and Ruth have their first nervous encounter, whilst upstairs, flamboyant pensioners Don and Edie are having a party of their own!

The play follows these two couples through the early morning to sunrise, taking in the gamut of emotions from love to fear.

Jan Townend and Tim Hawkin excel as the older couple - striking all the right notes in a tightrope of a story and pulling off the play’s audacious twist with real aplomb.

Pete Gallacher and Rachel Ryan are rather less confident in their parts, though as they are playing youngsters on the verge of a relationship their lack of confidence sort of makes sense.

Kiss Me... is a very impressive start for Cast second space – setting the bar pretty high for those that follow.

CLARE TEAL AND THE BBC BIG BAND - CAST

Yorkshire lass Teal is a bit of a minx – flirtacious and sassy, with a neat line in somewhat homely banter.

She’s taken quite a task with this show - following in the footsteps of some of jazz and popular music’s most famous female vocalists.

As a fan herself she will know that going up against the likes of Ella Fitzgerald and Peggy Lee is a difficult path to tread.

Fortunately she pulls it off with some style, helped a great deal by the heady passionate sound of the BBC band, whose horn section in particular is a real joy.

She opens the set with two originals and it’s a storming start.

Unfortunately she then nearly derails the whole project with an Annie Lennox cover about which the less said the better.

Fortunately this is followed by a glorious version of I Just Wanna Make Love to You, which contains a rather sweet yearning totally absent from Muddy Waters lascivious original and is punctuated by thumping blasts from the horns, and a marvellous trumpet solo.

The between song banter is witty and charming, though mainly focused on tapas and tomatoes – Teal clearly feels at home on the stage and seems impressed with the new venue (and in particular its meatballs!)

Back to the music and there’s a wonderfully sultry version of Cole Porter’s Too Damn Hot and a deeply moving Dream a Little Dream of Me, as she takes on Ella, and though she’s never going to beat Ms Fitzgerald, she comes away with a creditable draw.

But perhaps the night’s highlight is one that doesn’t come from a female vocalist or indeed the Great American Songbook – Van Morrison’s Dark Side of the Road, which Teal deals with superbly by stepping back slightly from the melody and teasing the lyrics.

It’s a bouyant and uplifting song anyway but her handling of it is truly joyous, and is topped off by a wonderful sax solo and it’s followed by a wonderful version of Nina Simone’s I’m Feeling Good in which it’s not just the butterflies that are having fun, the almost full house audience is having a damn good time too.

Teal’s show is a pleasant surprise – though it’s mostly covers it’s a world away from the sub karaoke crassness of X Factor and Ella and Peggy would surely approve.