By the time you get to my age you’ve seen every sort of entertainment a function can deliver. Comedians, conjurers, rapping DJ’s and family-made videos – I’ve witnessed them all, along with the speeches and boiled salmon and it was always pleasant but predictable. And then it happened. An aunt seated beside me at a barmitzvah was moaning about the vegetable selection when a chef appeared from the kitchen. Was he about to challenge my ungracious relative? I pondered, but then he started singing and it was magnificent. Could this gifted soprano really be responsible for the consommé and croquettes or was he part of Encore Entertainment, a company that delivers something unique and unexpected to a special event? The answer, of course, was the latter and it is directors Andy Searle and Rory Campbell who I have to thank for silencing that aunt.
Now a global cabaret sensation, Encore was founded 10 years ago by Rory who has had principle roles on the West End stage (Cats, My Fair Lady, High Society) and Andy (who performed as Gaston and the Beast in ‘Beauty And The Beast’ at the Dominion) and their pedigree is the reason the ensemble in aprons are so good. Encore’s fine tenors and sopranos can blend into your simcha before making a vocal splash you will never forget and there is more. They had the chutzpah to add Jewish Encore to their repertoire and the division is lead by Rebecca Wicking who appeared in the hit Musicals Hair, Chess and Rent and more recently, “You Won’t Succeed on Broadway if you don’t have any Jews”, which was performed in Tel Aviv as well as The Other Palace in Victoria. Joining Rebecca in renditions from Fiddler on the Roof and other Jewish favourites is Danny Lane who had ‘There’s no Business like Show Business’ as the entrance music at his barmitzvah, so you can only imagine what fun he will be. Performing alongside them is Alex Jacobs who is currently starring in “Footloose the Musical and Anthony Flaum a lyric tenor who did solos for the English National Opera, but more importantly (for us) recently starred with Bryn Terfel in Fiddler on the Roof. Anthony has also sung on the synagogue circuit and with a little persuading will perform selected liturgical music as an additional option during a Simcha. That he can do it in a chef’s hat with a waiting staff ready to harmonise makes for a night you will never forget. I certainly haven’t.
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Come along to Jewish News presents Simchas Live on Sunday 22 October at the Village Hotel, Elstree, 11am to 4pm.
Read the supplement here: