Review - A Grand Night For Singing - HK Singers - Fringe


by Matthew Gillespie

“A lovely night, a lovely night.  A finer night you know you'll never see.” — Cinderella

A Grand Night for Singing, presented by The Hong Kong Singers, is a truly lovely walk down memory lane. It takes you back to a simpler time where love was innocent. 

This is a musical revue that showcases both lesser and better known songs by the dynamic duo of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II (better known as Rodgers and Hammerstein).  It was originally staged in 1993 atop the Rockefeller Center in New York City.  While it began as a cabaret style of production, subsequent Broadway performances added elements of dance and more elaborate production elements. 

The Hong Kong Singers presented their production at the Fringe Club following more of the original style.  They created an intimate cabaret environment, adorned with blue strung lights and hanging lanterns. The environment was completed by the gifted three-piece jazz band who was on stage with the singers.  The bare brick of the Fringe Club provides an authentic backdrop.

These well beloved songs were presented with great class by Lizzie Zialcita, Henry Tang, Stephanie Kwan, Mikki Villa and Keira Ng.  The songs, from such shows as The King and I, South Pacific, Sound of Music, Flower Drum Song, Oklahoma, Cinderella, Carousel and others. 

The first act strings together songs telling the story of first love, flirtation and jealousy.  Some audience favorites included when the ladies owned the stage with the “Stepsisters Lament” from Cinderella and a jazzy version of “Honeybun” from South Pacific.

The second act has more intimate moments, making the most of some beautiful harmonies, with the highlight of the whole evening when Mikki sang a touching rendition of “Love, Look Away” from Flower Drum Song.

Dividing the audience space in two provides an interesting challenge for performers as they need to perform to both sides.  They did a great job making sure that no audience member was left out; however, during the group numbers, they tended to arch towards the audience which meant the blending of harmonies wasn’t as good as it could have been.  If they arched inward, these luscious harmonies would really come together.

During this performance they took a little time getting settled into the space but, once they did, they were all dynamic and really pulled us into their stories.  With Clarence Lam on piano, Michael Bradley on double  ass and Crotus Chan on drums, the music was expertly played and was a great tribute to Rodgers and Hammerstein.  However, they do need to tighten up the spaces between songs slightly to help the overall flow of the performance.

My greatest regret for the evening, though, … was not jumping on stage and singing along with the performers.  These are songs and stories all of us can relate to, whether we know all the songs or not.  Both during the show and afterwards, audience members were discussing and chatting about when they first heard these songs and what they meant to them.


This show has now closed

Rate This Show: 1 2 3 4 5 Audience Rating: 2.3


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