SINCE 2007, this reporter has been covering events that showcase the relationship between the Royal Opera House and the people of Thurrock. If there was one event that encapsulated the very "joie de vivre"in that relationship, then it was the performance of All Change at the Civic Hall in Grays on Thursday night.
The event began with a mini-forum, hosted by ROH Thurrock’s director of education, Matt Lane, that allowed the key movers to explain a little about their respective roles.
After that, we were taken on a one hour journey through human emotions, portrayed by the Thurrock Community Chorus, RM19 and a number of highly regarded soloists.
All Change took our cast through a change in life from joylessness, to hedonism, then to reflection and peace but it was portrayed through a fascinating melange of classical pieces.
It started with the humming chorus from Madam Butterfly which segued into two works by american composer Aaron Copland. At this point, this reviewer was most impressed with the seamless choreography of the hundred or more performers on the stage.
This was a performance that was also a celebration of costume (the costume centre at the High House Production Park opens this autumn).
As the music moved onto William Tell, Carmen and Zadok the Priest, costume and colour came more to the fore. It came to compliment the passion and energy displayed by the performers.
The RM19 performers came more and more to the fore with a great display of energy , invention and talent.
If we had a favourite part of the performance it was at the Moon of Alabama, where the soloists such as Peter Willcock and Tania Holland Williams come to the fore.
And to be honest, this reviewer is something of a Kurt Weill fan.
We loved the fight scene, the baying crowds, the effervescence of Peter Willcocks again.
It was also a joy to watch, Jeremy Haneman and Dominic Peckham combine roles as conductors but in many ways you suspected that much of the energy came from the creativity of the director, David Stevenson and his team.
The performance ended with a sense of calm reflection and happiness as the cast came together.
As we said, praise and high praise at that must go to everyone involved. It is on for one more night at the Civic Hall.