Music and marvel for a summer’s night

Brian Blessed hosted the Film Night Spectacular on Christchurch Park.

Brian Blessed hosted the Film Night Spectacular on Christchurch Park. - Credit: Archant

Film Night Spectacular, Christchurch Park, Ipswich, July 6

Brian Blessed hosted the Film Night Spectacular on Christchurch Park.

Brian Blessed hosted the Film Night Spectacular on Christchurch Park. - Credit: Archant

It is, traditionally, Ipswich’s big weekend and this Film Night Spectacular lived up to its billing.

Brian Blessed hosted the Film Night Spectacular on Christchurch Park.

Brian Blessed hosted the Film Night Spectacular on Christchurch Park. - Credit: Archant

In spectacular fashion, an owl flew on to the stage to rest on conductor Simon Chalk’s arm before the Heart of England Philharmonic orchestra started the programme with the Harry Potter theme – the first of a number of composer John Williams’ pieces.

The Overture which preceded it was a medley from the evening’s musical arranger Alasdair Malloy, which began, nostalgically with the Pearl & Dean music, followed by the unmistakeable 20th Century Fox fanfare before taking us on a spot-the-theme journey including a snatch of Saint-Saens symphonic work used for Babe.

Alasdair himself was well into the spirit of the occasion, over on stage right with the cymbals, dressed as Indiana Jones in the first half and as a pirate after the interval.

The outdoor arena of the park, sloping away from the stage offers a perfect auditorium and with glorious clear skies and a warm evening there was no better place to be. The stage right and stage left audience sections each formed a relaxed phalanx up the hill, parted by the lighting/sound box. Champagne corks popped and the Pimms was out.

Our host, Brian Blessed, was on top bombastic form and Suffolk soprano Laura Wright showed the range and quality of her voice. She gave an outstanding rendition (in Italian) of the Bryan Adams film classic Everything I Do, from Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves and remarkably changed her vocal delivery for Nobody Does it Better from the Bond movie, The Spy Who Loved Me. What a wonderful voice she has... a fact not unremarked by Mr Blessed who said Suffolk had a great artist in Laura Wright before kissing her hand in a gentlemanly fashion.

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During the evening he regaled us with tales of meeting Sean Connery in Z-Cars, of training to be a cosmonaut, of climbing Everest. Engaging, funny and never knowingly sotto voce, it did not escape our notice that he managed the top note in Climb Every Mountain during the Sound of Music Singalong

But I must not forget the impressive Tyrannosaurus Rex that emerged into the arena with the Jurassic Park theme that closed the first half. It was quite a moment as, counter-intuitively, most of the children in the audience rushed towards it. Fortunately it was a benign prehistoric, flesh-eating monster, happy to have its picture taken with some of its young fans.

With a dazzling firework display to accompany the evening’s finale of Star Wars music it was a simply fabulous night of entertainment.

LYNNE MORTIMER

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