Billed for 7:30pm but the curtain didn't go up at the Key Theatre, Peterborough until 7:40pm, and clearly the lateness wasn't due to the sound check being properly carried out. Divas apparently are fashionably late and simply don't apologise. She didn't. Twice during the evening, the hapless Key Theatre sound technician Peter was publicly called out by the Jazz Diva, and as Miss Dankworth informed the audience: "Would you (Peterborians) mind being Guinea Pigs for an important concert, I'm giving with the London Philharmonic Orchestra at Cadogan Hall on April 16th, I'll be performing a selection of popular songs from musicals and film soundtracks?"
Miss Dankworth, would of course not know about the close artistic links the Leader Marco Cereste and the City of Peterborough, is currently crafting with The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, but our sources say, that it's not the London Philharmonic, but the better known Cadogan Swing Orchestra...
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It would of course have been rude to say NO, EVEN AT £16 A TICKET so we settled back - as Guinea Pigs do - but two members of the Peterborough audience (sitting stage right front row- hard to miss), gave the Diva, all of five minutes, before trashing their £32 investment, making a beeline for the door, and anyway The Guardian ( a paper written in London, and even sold in Peterborough ) opined that Miss Dankworth was 'one of the classiest acts in British jazz singing’.
So if her fabled tonsils, and an immaculate jazz musical pedigree could - us willing guinea pigs thought - be applied to "popular songs from musicals and film soundtracks," then we were in for a real treat. However it transpired that musical director, composer, second vocalist and husband Charlie Wood, had been up all night, scoring the "popular songs from musicals and film soundtracks," most needed rehearsal, for some, the ink was seemingly still wet on the manuscript.
The jazz standard "Baubles, Bangles and Beads" was given two good goes, and yes, the second rendition was much better .. Almost Like Being In Love, Windmills of Your Mind from The Thomas Crown Affair - a film which Miss Dankworth, tells us, she has yet to see - although there are two filmic versions, the first in 1968 and the second in 1999.
That jazz classic "Pure Imagination" from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory opened the evening. Mike Smith on drums (who we are told) hailed from Peterborough, gave the freshly penned 'dots' his very best with lots of 'top hat' and wire brushes, at which point the doughty couple, up sticks and left.
We were also to lose a few discreetly during the interval but to be fair, the mammoth funfair next door on the embankment, being a mid month Thursday was virtually deserted as well. A rendition of If You Go Away was next and might have been appropriate, if the couple had tarried awhile. Jacqui Dankworth, at one point in her career, was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and she wondered aloud, if any of us (in Peterborough) had ever heard of the Merchant of Venice, it's a play apparently, and she played Portia? - Charlie (her husband) had even set some of the bards prose about seeking lead (metal that is), to music and Jacqui dutifully sang it.......
But all too soon, the evening was over, two 40 minute sets, (7:40pm and 8:40pm) but we left feeling cheated, not seeing the Jazz Diva, on our stage, but a first try out of, mainly totally new material, still needing a lot of work.
However Miss Dankworth brightly tells us we can all go up to London to see the fully rehearsed version in London on April 19th, best tickets £27, Cadogan Hall, 5 Sloane Terrace, London SW1X 9DQ.
Rush to it Peterborians before all the Sloanes get the best seats. But then we did see it first ....albeit at the embryonic stage... We'll get right back to you Jacqui !
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