Never Too Late to Learn

To base a show around the theme of evening classes is an interesting concept and one which has not been trialled very extensively anywhere, let alone at the Edinburgh Festival. Upon arrival at the Royal Overseas League, I was in a minority: the rest of the audience were all involved in the aforementioned evening classes and were a lot more clued in than your Average Joe.

Nevertheless, mezzo-soprano Jennifer Logan and her pianist Stuart Hope presented a highly amusing and faultless display of some light-hearted classical tunes and all-new lyrics to fit them, with some clever contemporary references thrown in for good measure. The songs ran from ballads by Sondheim about meeting a man from an absurdly long-named fictional Spanish town (who eventually moved to Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch) to foreign language-based melodies making no sense at all and rather just listing words and famous people that originate in that country. The concert ended with a clever song, ‘Momsense’, set to Rossini’s William Tell Overture finale, about a nagging mother telling her child what to do. Each song was delivered with expression and great comic timing, leading to titters and chortles from the enthusiastic crowd.

The musicality itself was also good. Logan has a very sophisticated control to her voice – she is clearly well-trained – and a very pure, clear tone which doesn’t rely too heavily on vibrato. As for Hope, he barely put a foot wrong and while the music was never extremely taxing, he played what he was given with ease and panache. That said, nothing was musically outstanding – there were no complex piano solos or belting money notes – but the comical element of the majority of the songs more than made up for the lack of real showboating.

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
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The Blurb

Songs inspired by classes on offer this autumn - from computing for the terrified to criminology, Tango (how to embrace your partner) to Christmas snowglobes, posh nosh and detox, mobile phone apps, and Bach for pets.

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