Black t-shirts, pints and some fab music

WISHBONE ASH

Civic Theatre

IT’S not often the Civic fills with an audience of more men than women, let alone lots of men in black, clutching pints.

Some hadn’t set foot in the place since Sooty was in short pants, but their T-shirts proudly proclaimed why they’d turned up tonight - Wishbone Ash!

Wishbone Ash is a rock band from the 70s, but their music is so alive and exciting, it’s ageless, while the relaxed, sublime togetherness of these four musicians is pure perfection.

Their use of two lead guitars, something this band pioneered, and the integration of a bass guitar that’s so much more than just backing, are truly stunning.

The excellence of those soaring sounds and heavenly harmonies, whether played on racy, space-age models, on twelve-strings or on more conventional guitars are never less than exhilarating. At quieter moments, the phrase ‘my guitar gently weeps’ takes on real meaning, while the clarity of melody and echoing wails call to mind the best of Hank Marvin.

The three guitarists have wonderful singing voices, too, that likewise blend and harmonise impressively.

The line-up of players has changed a lot over the decades. Now just one player is an original member and that’s front man Andy Powell (sporting Phil Collins hair style and sunglasses.) Magnificent bass player Bob Skeat joined in the ‘90s, bluesy Muddy Manninen in 2004, while drummer Joe Crabtree, who came in 2007, brings a neat, clean, particularly handsome style of drumming that’s a real joy in itself.

There was little chat from the chaps, who let their seemingly effortless flow of superb music do the talking - loud, eloquent, soulful. Numbers from older albums, like Leaf and Stream, Faith, Hope and Love, Warrior, Phoenix, are obvious favourites with fans, but, as Andy said, the band is still very much a work in progress, and their unstoppable creative juices flow through new numbers too.

Fans, clamouring hard for an encore, were rewarded with ‘Mudslide’ from the band’s new album, featuring Muddy Manninen on horizontal slide guitar (which just happened to be ready and waiting).

The band were full of praise for the Civic Theatre as a wonderful venue for rock music. No one had the heart to tell them its days are numbered. Theirs, though, certainly are not.

* Eileen Caiger Gray

Fusion: Carr-nival Academy of Theatre Skills

Civic Theatre

THIS youthful company presented Fusion at the Doncaster Civic Theatre - and the forty young performers can be justly proud of their show.

With excellent costumes throughout and slick dance routines enhanced with magical lighting, this was a musical compilation with a difference.

In the first half it was a pleasure to see such young ones performing by themselves.

This group has at least a third of its group made up of guys - so unusual to see in the amateur world of theatre.

Good Ship Lollipop was a highlight for me with the three youngest performers ably singing the song while the ship lollipop appeared.

The Les Miserables selection was a delight, particularly Fantine’s Death.

Also a modern number performed by eight guys with chairs was such an unusual sight to see on the Civic stage in Doncaster.

It was a pleasure to see and hear the young man Tommy Roberts in this show - his abundant talent shone through with some excellent choreography.

This Tickhill based group certainly have a strong following and I look forward to being able to see Our Day Out very soon.

* Bernard Duke