Voice of the Heart Karen Carpenter – Huntingdon Hall, Worcester

Reviewed by Garry and Helen McWilliams

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Back in May 2013 we were invited to review this must-see show and Helen took the lead in writing the review which can be found here: https://breakalegreviewblog.wordpress.com/reviews-3/page/2/

Now it’s Garry’s turn and we were delighted to review a second time, almost 18 months later. Voice of the Heart remains a foot-tapping sing-along evening and it is suitable for all ages. You also don’t need to be a fan of the Carpenters to have a good night out watching this show, it truly is a fantastic night out in its own right – it just so happens that Carole Gordon sounds remarkably like the lady whose hits she is singing. There is a new band member, following the sad loss of Bob Gordon who not only added excellent bass guitar to the ensemble, but also wonderful backing vocals. He is missed, but the line-up are truly superb and must be commended for continuing with their tour.

Opening with ‘Sing A Song’ is an inspired selection and it is one of the notable numbers where Carole’s voice particularly stands out. ‘For All We Know’ is Helen’s favourite, short and sweet providing yet another great opportunity for the lead vocalist to shine. We both noted the clarity of the harmonies on this occasion, Rachel Dean on backing vocals is a class act – this is the third time we have heard Gordon and Dean sing together and they compliment one another perfectly.

Carole connects with each song completely and we felt every word that she was singing, the Carpenters music can be likened to an emotional journey, and that is the over-riding feeling from this show. ‘Touch Me When We’re Dancing’, ‘We’ve Only Just Begun’ and ‘Goodbye To Love’ were easily our personal highlights, not forgetting ‘Superstar’ which Carole describes as an “audience choice”, she’s right, it just wouldn’t be right if that track wasn’t included in the set.

The band are well chosen and there is not one weak link among this talented group. Gordon Godwin has joined on bass guitar, there’s also Andy Saphir who is not only a skilled guitarist but contributes amazingly to the harmonies. Mat Newton on piano/synths is the musical director and consistently first-rate, as is John Blackburn on drums. We were really looking forward to seeing Carolyn Lawford again, she is multi-talented indeed, playing saxophone, flute and clarinet – and of course, she didn’t disappoint.

It’s an all-round evening of entertainment as Gordon develops a natural rapport with the audience and has a very natural interactive style. Indeed, it’s an altogether warm and welcoming banter which adds an extra dimension to the show. Go and see it, what more can we say!

Please see http://www.voiceoftheheart.co.uk for details of forthcoming shows and to book tickets.

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