An entertaining and enthralling evening of music

Chris Beaumont at the Opus Theatre
Chris Beaumont at the Opus Theatre

Chris Beaumont is a self-taught but exceptional musician, whose love of the xylophone has made him the leading expert on the music of Sir Patrick Moore.

While most of us recall the familiar astronomer from The Sky at Night, many will also remember him as a xylophonist of considerable ability. Fewer will be aware of the large amount of music he wrote for the instrument.

Chris Beaumont not only performed a wide range of music, most of it in his own arrangements, but brought us many of Sir Patrick’s own compositions. He opened with Freefall, then a march entitled Halley’s Comet and later we were enthralled by movements from a suite which opens with Dragonflies and moves through hedgehogs to earthworms. The final piece from Sir Patrick was a jolly piece called Halley’s Rag.

Between these items we heard the Clog Dance from La fille Mal Guardee, together with wood blocks and glockenspiel, and Elephants from Saint Saens’ Carnival Of The Animals. The first half ended with a virtuoso rendition of Grieg’s from The Hall Of The Mountain King and the theme music from QI.

The second half opened with a brand new piece – The Chase by Opus Theatre’s director and composer Polo Piatti - a charming composition and totally in keeping with the easy flowing music of the rest of the evening. Two movements from Schumann’s Kinderszenen followed and more popular items including music from Star Wars and the Flight Of The Bumble Bee. Drawing toward a close, we encountered the theme music from Allo, Allo and finally the theme from Have I got News for You.

Throughout, Chris Beaumont had been loyally and expertly accompanied by Derek Carden.

The audience was a little disappointing for what was essentially a popular, not to say family, event and let us hope Chris will feel encouraged to return to entertain us again. By Brian Hick.