Outstanding Christmas concert and Cabaret performances

The Dunhurst Christmas Concert and Cabaret follow in quick succession on Tuesday and Wednesday – I feel hugely spoilt and humbled by such a combination. The Dunhurstians produce an amazing range and quality in their 15 pieces – from the Blocks’ Strings’ rendition of Handel’s Hornpipe, through the visceral power of Kristian’s boy drummers, to the vim of Go Tell It On The Mountain by the Blocks’ Choir; for those of us who grew up in the 70s, it was comforting to end as ever with Jamie’s Band leading us in their spirited version of the Slade (seriously big hair, remember?) Merry Christmas. In all a great credit to the Dunhurst pupils and the excellent peformances that Kathy Misson and her colleagues inspire from their pupils.

I have been popping in to Cabaret rehearsals over the past few weeks, but last night was my chance to see it properly. This was a production of the highest quality. Word was out from early on that it was going to be outstanding – and it has more than lived up to this billing. For me, it was the brilliantly modulated way that mood and tempo were adapted to capture the essence of individual scenes that stood out. Jay Green refers to this in his illuminating programme notes, referring to how “Its brilliance lies in the moments of utter clarity that pierce its narrative structure.”  He goes on to refer to the need for specificity in these moments – something achieved wonderfully last night. Big congratulations to all, but especially Jay and Claire Gammon, who as director and choreographer, have brought off an amazing feat. Tonight is the last night – tickets are worth fighting for (figuratively, please).

By Keith Budge, Headmaster, Bedales Schools