Review: The High Sheriff’s Command Performance, Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds, September 24.

Gary Avis and his partner from the Royal Ballet, Mara Galeazzi, performing Lieder Pas de deux at th

Gary Avis and his partner from the Royal Ballet, Mara Galeazzi, performing Lieder Pas de deux at the High Sheriff's Command Performance Gala at Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal. - Credit: Archant

A gala evening cram-packed with stars, young talent and theatrical royalty marked the launch of a major new arts and culture fund for Suffolk.

Sammy Kelly and Julia Cave bringing Bob Fosse�s Chicago to the Theatre Royal stage at the High Sheri

Sammy Kelly and Julia Cave bringing Bob Fosse�s Chicago to the Theatre Royal stage at the High Sheriff's Command Performance Gala - Credit: Archant

The evening provided a perfect opportunity to see fund-raising patron Timothy West, along with stars like the Royal Ballet’s Gary Avis and Mara Galeazzi performing up close.

The packed programme included a nicely balanced programme of song, dance, drama and comedy and was brilliantly held-together by master of ceremonies the ad-libbing Kit Hesketh-Harvey.

His impromptu song about Donald Trump’s race for the White House was designed to cover an over-long scene change but provided one of the many highlights of the evening.

Sponsored by the High Sheriff of Suffolk, Judith Shallow, and hosted by the Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal, The Command Performance was designed to create funds to allow The Suffolk Community Foundation to start an Arts and Culture Fund in the High Sherriff’s name and to allow the Theatre Royal to continue its outreach and development work with young people.

Timothy West bringing the works of John Mortimer to life at the High Sheriff's Command Performance G

Timothy West bringing the works of John Mortimer to life at the High Sheriff's Command Performance Gala at Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal. - Credit: Archant


You may also want to watch:


As an example of rising talent and the work of the Suffolk Community Foundation the evening opened with a pair of startling performances. The first from the advanced training group from DanceEast performing a contemporary piece choreographed by Joss Arnott called Multiply which followed by a moving choral version of Bill Withers’ Lean On Me, performed by community choir Music In Our Bones.

Established names like Helen Fraser and Clive Francis performed alongside young professionals like David O’Mahoney, Jessie May, Sammy Kelly and Julia Cave.

Most Read

Helen Fraser, who played prison warder Body Bag both on TV and in the West End, performed an extract from Bad Girls – The Musical, Sammy Kelly and Julia Cave brought Bob Fosse’s Chicago to the Theatre Royal stage while Jessie May gave a powerful performance of Brian May’s No-One But You from We Will Rock You.

West End actor Clive Francis brought the court room scene to life from The Pickwick Papers and Timothy West dramatised Anthony Trollope’s Dr Thorne and John Mortimer’s Rumpole of the Bailey.

Stunning music was provided by mezzo sopranos Yvonne Howard and Jennifer Johnston who performed extracts from Hansel and Gretel and Les Contes d’Hoffman while Bury-based jazz musician Chris Ingham provided us with a look at the apparently not-so-relaxed world of Hoagy Carmichael.

The highlight of a packed evening however was Ipswich-born Gary Avis and his partner from the Royal Ballet, Mara Galeazzi, who performed Lieder Pas de deux which had been choreographed for them by Alastair Marriott.

A stunning evening which was played to a full-house and will create a fund to allow more Suffolk people to access the arts.

Andrew Clarke

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus