Customer Review

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sounds a lot like Christmas, 3 Dec 2009
This review is from: Christmas in New York (Audio CD)
Since 2006, the "Christmas In New York" team have given British composers an annual boost, performing a selection of their seasonal songs in the West End. This new CD aims to capture some of the best performances, and also contribute towards a Musical Theatre bursary for a student at Arts Educational School, London.

The seasonal mood is set in the sleeve notes accompanying the disc. Asked what Christmas means to them, most of the cast admit to silly games and chronic over-indulgence. Luckily this recording was made in November before the Amaretto could take hold of Paul Spicer, and while Hannah Waddingham could still make it off her folks' couch and into the studio.

With few exceptions, many of the numbers here are fresh as new snow and bright as a string of fairy lights. The lively "Christmas In New York City" from the Company gives way to a magic yet fragile piano-only accompanied "White Christmas" from Leanne Jones.

Oliver Tompsett then works well with a choir on "The Christmas" before Louise Dearman mixes new and old customs in "All Those Christmas Clichés." This gives way to my personal highlight on the recording - a blend of traditional "In The Bleak Midwinter" with the modern "A Winter's Tale." The trio of voices and careful balancing of each tune and lyric are almost worth buying the CD for alone. "What Christmas Means to Me / Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" then seems brash by comparison but proves a sensibly lively contrast before Samuel Barnett and Anna-Jane Casey turn in the yearning "Miss You Most (at Christmas Time)" and sincere "Children" respectively. Then follows a cheering "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," before Daniel Boys provides a relaxed sweet "Ave Maria."

Julie Atherton's "Perfect Year" edges Dina Carroll's famous version with a solo guitar accompaniment underlining the vocal in unique style. Leanne Jones returns with the surprising "Just In Time For Christmas" before Clement Clarke Moore's "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" is given a musical rendition by Anna-Jane Casey and the Company. The show concludes with an uplifting "O Holy Night" from Hannah Waddingham and the choir.

Bonus track "My Simple Christmas Wish" (with a dash of strong language) may be at odds with the rest of the recording, but Julie Atherton on hilarious form leaves us in no doubt of the turkey fan's career plans for next year - just be thankful you're not her agent...

After the crush of Christmas shopping, with its ubiquitous dreary seasonal tunes on a loop, this is a very refreshing and hugely more enjoyable alternative.
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