The Tony Wayne School -Re-Launch Charity Concert
Low Moor Club Bradford
August 29 2014.
Producer Paul Taylor
Reviewer: Mark Ritchie
(Pic Tony Wayne)
The name Tony Wayne is synonymous with two major attributes, a successful vocal technique school and an often outrageous stage act. The school’s truncated history has been rekindled by this concert, which raised funds for the local Hospice movement. This venue provides the club’s new headquarters for aspiring professional singers to learn their craft. As for the stage act, that is sadly over, due to retirement caused by a daunting succession of health problems, which would have killed off lesser men years ago. Although Wayne’s singing voice and outspoken line in ready wit are still very much intact, at least judging by his performance as Compere on this very enjoyable evening’s cabaret.
The first half of the show was all about current students, while the second half featured appearances from a selection of past Tony Wayne pupils, who have perhaps unsurprisingly morphed into present day Clubland luminaries.
Cameron Lee was a Bradford rapper, who wanted to learn how to song properly. In recent months he has been offered a role in the West End of London in Les Miserable and in a touring production of Anything Goes. Not the typical ‘West-End Wendy’, young Lee could also conceivably make his mark in Mainstream cabaret.
Student Natalie Mallalieu is eye-catching and tuneful and given the addition of a few stage craft skills, is currently putting a little work in with Wayne and no doubt adding another string to her bow.
Joseph Braithwaite has overcome personal disadvantages and any agent worth his salt should at the very least be able to see the potential here. A stunning voice and caring parents are Joseph’s advantages, which could and should easily counter and conquer all else.
Laura Michaels is a young bank clerk who is just taking the first steps in finding a way onto the bottom rung of the northern club scene ladder. On this showing she has nothing to fear but fear itself. Young Laura made her entrance looking like a female version of Sydney Carton in A Tale of Two Cities. So why the jangling nerves? The answer may be very simple. This talented young singer needs a shot of confidence and a dollop of self-belief and in my view she will be there!
After a lengthy interval and some charity fund-raising, it was clear this show was going to overrun wildly. No-one seemed to care too much on an evening full of interest and the friendly familiarity of show business mates working together.
Saul is the Alta-Ego of the show Producer Paul Taylor. This well travelled and expansive performer presents elements of a vocal impressionist (or multi-tribute artiste) as such entertainers seem to prefer being known as these days. Saul also turns in an impressive mainstream cabaret performance when required.
Take 2 is a brace of well dressed ladies (Clare and Alison) who possess all the moves and vocal harmonies to succeed in the Clubland field. These ladies proved a more than useful addition to an impressive bill.
Diminutive singer Ryan Williams gave 100% while looking very nervous for some reason. A version of the Spandau Ballet hit song Gold was well sung and Williams certainly played his part on the night.
Guitar and vocal duo Infusion present a rock based image, with the female half of the act donning some frankly terrifying looking boots. A slimmed down version of Prince’s seminal Purple Rain saw the male half of the act scaling the heights of tables and chairs in the audience, to give us the familiar guitar riffs.
Closing the show out was pencil-slim singer Scott Richards, who has quickly become a familiar and in-demand Clubland artiste. The amiable and tuneful Richards will need to add more performance skills to his arsenal of talent if he is to fire his way out of the clubs, but his set was a real highlight nonetheless.
At the end of an evening full of joy and friendship, it was Tony Wayne himself who sang us out, while the entire company combined to produce a truly lovely evening.