Thursday saw the Winter Gardens launch their summer season. I have to say I had mixed feelings about it.  There are clearly many stand out nights coming to the resort in the next few months; it was just a shame that this event which was supposed to showcase them didn’t really hit the heights.

So let’s start with the programme.  Some events have already sold out.  These include Gary Barlow, who will fill the Opera House on both 27th and 28th April.  Also already a full house is the visit of the League of Gentlemen on 18th September, no great surprise after the success of their Christmas episodes after a long hiatus.

Producers Selladoor had a guest speaker at the event giving details of the three events they are staging at the venue this year.  These comprise The Wizard Of Oz, Madagascar and Fame – The Musical.  The former two will doubtless prove very popular with the kids, whilst the latter is going to be true to the 1980s origins in the American TV drama and will be a nostalgic treat for those of a certain age.

There is so much on offer in this season that it is difficult to pick out highlights.  Beautiful – The Carole King Musical coming in June promises to be a spectacular tribute to the great American writer and songstress.  Also on the musical front Titanic in July should go down very well given the success of the film.  Early May sees a duo of top comedians with Sarah Millican’s Control Enthusiast Tour followed a week later by Russell Brand and his Re-birth gig.

So how did the event manage to underwhelm?  A projector screen which was barely above village hall standards was not the best way to project what were undoubtedly slick videos in the large space of the Renaissance Room.  Host Scott Gallagher made a couple of jokes about the organisers being too tight to put on a few biscuits, and the fact that many of the audience hadn’t been invited and were marking time sheltering from the ‘Beast From The East’ outside.  Clearly he was right about the confectionery, but I think he was spot on about the attendees as well.

The promotional A4 magazine ‘Encore’ handed out as attendees left was a much better advert for the coming features than the launch event itself, you can pick a copy up at the venue.


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