TOP quality opera is heading to Woking as The Glyndebourne Tour makes its way to the New Victoria Theatre at the end of this month.

There will be three productions on the Woking stage – Verdi’s Rigoletto, Handel’s Rinaldo and, for the first time, a one-off Glyndebourne Chorus Christmas Concert.

Rigoletto Glyndebourne Tour 2019

Glyndebourne prides itself on developing artistic talent, and many names who started their careers in the tour have gone on to international acclaim, including Robin Ticciati, Gerald Finley, Emma Bell, Alfie Boe, Roberto Alagna, Edward Gardner and Kate Royal. The audience can expect stars of the future in these latest shows.

Glyndebourne’s first-ever production of Verdi’s classic Rigoletto, directed by Christiane Lutz, will feature Georgian baritone Nikoloz Lagvilava as the titular jester, with prize-winning South African soprano Vuvu Mpofu as his daughter, Gilda.

Robert Carsen’s witty production of Rinaldo moves Handel’s setting from the Crusades to a Harry Potter/St Trinian’s-style school, with a cast including Jake Arditti and Anna Devin as the thwarted lovers and Glyndebourne Opera Cup runner-up Jacquelyn Stucker as scheming sorceress Armida.

For the first time this year, the company will tour the Glyndebourne Chorus Christmas Concert, a special festive evening of opera highlights and yuletide classics for all the family, showcasing the Glyndebourne Chorus and Glyndebourne Tour Orchestra.

Rigoletto will be at the New Victoria Theatre on Wednesday 27 November and Saturday 30 November, Rinaldo will be on Friday 29 November and the Chorus Christmas Concert will be on Thursday 28 November.


HE PUT out the first single by The Jesus and Mary Chain, signed the likes of Teenage Fanclub, My Bloody Valentine and Primal Scream and has managed the likes of Happy Mondays, Black Grape and Glasvegas. But Alan McGee will always be best known for discovering Oasis.

TALKING HEAD – Alan McGee will be appearing at the Fiery Bird

“I’m just a music fan, although, compared with most, I’ve probably got it right more times than I ever got it wrong,” says the co-founder of the Creation Records label.

“But you learn more from failure,” adds the 58-year-old from East Kilbride. And I was never an overnight success. People might think I was, but I was doing Creation for 10 years before Oasis, you know.”

He’ll be discussing it all on Saturday 30 November at the Fiery Bird in Woking in An Evening with Alan McGee, for which the blurb describes him as “Scottish businessman, music industry executive, record label owner, musician, manager, and The Guardian music blogger”.

“That’s because I’m old and I’ve been around a bit, y’know,” he says.

His success has made him a rich man, but he always had a love of music at the heart of his projects, releasing material by bands like Felt, The Pastels and The Weather Prophets as well as the more famous names.

“I did that because I loved the music,” he says. “I never worried about sales and whether something’s going to sell or not. I just put it out.”

And McGee continues to do his bit for music – even though he could easily just put his feet up. Last year he returned with Creation 23, a label specialising in seven-inch singles while also launching tracks across streaming services.

“It’s just another version of Creation,” he says. “I offered to put my pal’s band’s record out on a new label. I wasn’t going to call it Creation then I was just like, ‘McGee, you own the name, you are Creation’. I didn’t want to call it Creation Records because I thought it was disrespectful to Dick Green and Joe Foster who first founded it with me, so I changed it to Creation23.

“The important thing is that guitar music is good again, but the mainstream media don’t want guitar bands. That’s what I never saw coming. I’m putting these out because I love rock ’n’ roll.”

So, if you want to catch the next Oasis or Primal Scream while they’re young, snapping up singles by the likes of Rubber Jaw, Young Garbo and Juggs on Creation23 would be a good start.

In the meantime, you could pick up some musical tips from the man himself at An Evening With Alan McGee at the Fiery Bird later this month.

THE big-name dates are piling up for next year at Woking’s New Victoria Theatre. Among those already confirmed are Rob Brydon, Susan Boyle and Russell Watson.

Rob Brydon

Comedian Brydon, taking to the road with an eight-piece band for a new show called Songs and Stories, will be in town on Tuesday 24 March. Singer Boyle will be joined by Britain’s Got Talent winner Jai McDowall when she appears in Woking on Saturday 7 March.

Meanwhile, Russell Watson has announced some spring dates to celebrate 20 years since his debut album, The Voice. He will be at the New Victoria Theatre on Sunday 3 May.

Historical figures and events are about to come alive on stage in Woking – and it’ going to be truly horrible.

Using actors and 3D special effects, Horrible Histories are bring two shows to the New Victoria Theatre from Wednesday 20  November until Saturday 23 November.

TERRIBLE TUDORS – Anne Boleyn is about to lose her head in Horrible Histories

Awful Egyptians will tell all about the fascinating Pharaohs, the power of the pyramids, along with the foul facts of death and decay with the meanest mummies.

Or you could opt for the Terrible Tudors and find out about the horrible Henries to the end of evil Elizabeth, as well as hear the legends (and the lies!) about the torturing Tudors. Henry’s headless wives, his punch-up with the Pope, Bloody Mary and the Spanish Armada sailing into the audience are all included. It’s history with the horrible bits left in…

After three top 10 albums and more than 15 years on the road, Britpop legends The Bluetones split in 2011…only to reform for a tour four years ago. Now they’re doing it again – despite having yet to record any new material.

“The band is our train set and we can pick it up and play with it any time we want,” explains frontman Mark Morriss, who life these days revolves a little more around being a dad as much as it does adhering to a busy schedule of gigging commitments. But he’s loving it as much as the band’s ‘90s heyday.

BACK ON THE ROAD – The Bluetones have a date at the Boileroom

“I’ve just had a lovely birthday – I was actually up doing a solo show in Derby and was touched that people remembered it, and I received three cakes,” he says. That latest solo venture is Look Up, the singer’s fourth set of melody-infused recordings.

“I’m really pleased with the new album – it’s eventually arrived after a wait, but it was fun to make that one and it has been well received so far.

“We were in Margate for the video of Holiday of A Lifetime and I knew the guys who did that for me pretty well – we shot it in about seven hours and it was a case of guerilla film making, which is a style that I quite like with my music,” says Mark of the album, which gained a crowdfunding release, before emerging this autumn on multiple formats through independent label Reckless Yes.

For Mark, now 47, seeing it gain a full release was the most important thing, rather than any concerns over it making mainstream charts and he’s pleased to be returning to life on the road with The Bluetones, at least for a while.

“I think I’m at a point where I have a good balance between my family life and work,” he sys. “It’s always a pleasure to pick up with The Bluetones, as well as playing in another band.”

He is also part of actor and comedian Matt Berry’s group, The Maypoles, as well as teaming up with David Walliams to record music for audiobook versions of the comic’s award-winning children’s stories.

Life is very different from the days when The Bluetones emerged from Hounslow to grace the charts with songs like Slight Return, Bluetonic, Are You Blue Or Are You Blind?, Cut Some ug and Marblehead Johnson.

“We’re living in a Simon Cowell world at the moment and it’s going to take a little time for that to change,” sighs Mark. “But there’s definitely some really good music being made out there, but it’s largely under the radar, which I think is actually quite cool.”

As for the band’s upcoming tour, he says he’s not overly nostalgic, while admitting it’s the reason The Bluetones can still draw a crowd.

“It does feel like literally half a lifetime ago that we started out, but those early songs do still mean a lot to us,” he says. “I think they’ve lasted well and people still want us to play them, so we’ll be playing the whole of our Science and Nature album, as well as a greatest hits as well.

“So it’s going to be good to be playing some songs we haven’t done in a long while.”

The Bluetones will play at the Boileroom, Guildford, on Thursday 21 November.  

A PAIR of 2-Tone legends are heading to Surrey on Thursday (14 Nov).

The Selecter will be joined on their 40th Anniversary Tour by Rhoda Dakar, lead singer with The Bodysnatchers, at G Live in Guildford.

The Selecter, still led by the queen of ska Pauline Black, will play a set packed with old hits like On My Radio, Three Minute Hero and Too Much Pressure, as well as tracks from their most recent album, Daylight.

QUEEN OF SKA – Pauline Black with Arthur Hendrickson

Black will be accompanied by fellow original member Arthur ‘Gaps’ Hendrickson and their politically-engaged songs remain as relevant today as when they originally hit the charts alongside labelmates like The Specials and Madness in the late 1970s.

While Dakar’s career began as lead vocalist with all-woman 2-Tone band The Bodysnatchers, whose first single was double A-side Let’s Do Rocksteady with Ruder Than You, she later sang and collaborated with The Specials. On this tour she will be warming up the crowd with a DJ set.

ANY music fan from the 1980s will remember Mari Wilson’s beehive hairdo, as well as her vocal skill.

When the single Just What I Always Wanted propelled her into the Top 10, her reputation as the Neasden Queen of Soul seemed assured and Mari and her backing band The Wilsations were a fixture on TV and radio.

Pop and Soul singer Mari Wilson says her style has morphed to a more Jazz based sound as she goes on tour with new band the New Wilsations

Since those days, she has gradually morphed towards a jazzier sound and is still writing and recording at the age of 64.

Her latest album, Pop Deluxe, was recorded with Alistair Gavin. “I’ve been touring that for three-and-a-half years now,” she says. “I was singing some Dusty Springfield songs and, as they’re mainly ballads, I found myself wanting to perform my own interpretation of them.

“It was from this that led me to doing shows featuring some of my other, favourite, female artists like Dusty, and Sandie Shaw, and Cilla Black.” says Mari.

Along with other songs from her extensive back catalogue Mari is now back on tour with her current band, the New Wilsations, promising an energetic live show.

“It’s a great show,” she says. “I’ll be telling some really good stories and, if you’ve not been and seen me before, I’m often told that people are surprised by my vocals – so just come along and have yourselves a good old sing-a-long.”

Mari Wilson plays at the Electric Theatre in Guildford, tomorrow night (Friday 1 November).

For the full story get the 31 October edition of the News & Mail

THE Undercover Festival has announced the Woking News & Mail as its official printed media partner for its eighth and final full festival back in Woking at the Fiery Bird on 6 and 7 March 2020.

“Undercover 8 is going to be our final festival, and we intend for it to go out with a bang,” says organiser Mick Moriarty.

Undercover 8 will be the final full Undercover music festival

“We’ll have two packed days of alternative music, including punk, post punk and some ska and dub thrown in for good measure, pulled together in the way that only we at Undercover can,” he adds.

“It’s fitting that we’re working with the Woking News & Mail as they were a great help to Undercover when we first started at Bisley back in 2013.”

The festival has had a somewhat nomadic existence since 2013, calling in at Brighton, Margate and Tufnell Park, but through this journey Undercover has kept close links to Woking, with Keith Woodhouse from Radio Woking being the ever-present MC.

Barry Rutter, the News & Mail entertainment editor, says: “While it’s a shame that 2020 will be the final Undercover Festival, it’s great to see the event back in Woking, especially at the Fiery Bird. The line-up looks like one of the best yet so it should be a great send-off.

“It’s also good to see a line-up that includes some great alternative artists from Surrey, as well as the big names that Undercover always manages to land.”

The bill includes Johnny Moped, Subhumans, Roddy Radiation & The Skabilly Rebels (with Roddy Byers from The Specials), 999, Chelsea, Menace, XSLF, Radical Dance Faction, Pussycat and the Dirty Johnsons, dragSTER, Diablofurs, Screaming Dead,
R.E.D – Religion Equals Decay, Stone Heroes, G.Y.B, No Lip, RAGE DC, WitchDoktors and Wyrd Sisters.

Full details on www.undercoverfest.com.

WAOS (Woking Amateur Operatic Society) Musical Theatre is bringing Cole Porter’s High Society to Woking.

Best known for the 1956 film version starring Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly, it is full of classics songs such as Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?True Love and Well, Did You Evah!.

WAOS Musical Theatre presents High Society, a musical set among the rich and famous of Newport, Rhode Island, next month

Based on the play The Philadelphia Story, it is set in the 1950s among the rich and glamorous of Newport, Rhode Island. The comic story revolves around the wedding plans of a socialite, which are disrupted by a past romance and two reporters who are not impressed by the goings on of the rich and opulent.

WAOS Musical Theatre has produced a show full of fabulous ’50s fashions to add to the usual song, comedy and dance.

High Society will run from the 5-9 November at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre, Woking. Tickets on 07765 006565 or www.waos.info/tickets.

ROY Hudd is a massive fan of Oscar Wilde – mainly because Wilde helped his radio career no end.

“Whenever I did Quote… Unquote, I always guessed the quote was from Wilde,” recalls the veteran entertainer. “And nine times out of 10 I was right!”

However, he says that’s not the reason he was keen to join the cast of the latest tour of the master playwright’s A Woman of No Importance.

WILDE MAN – Roy Hudd stars in A Woman of No Importance at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford

“I was actually interested because of Wilde’s jokes,” he insists. “But the real sweetener with this show was they wanted me to do three songs. And they said, ‘You can pick the songs you want to do’, so that’s what I’ve done.”

The songs will be performed during scene changes, like party pieces at the posh dinner party around which the play is set, and they offer him the opportunity to indulge his love of music hall and variety.

Music hall is where it all started for Hudd. Or rather concert party. As a kid growing up in Croydon, he needed an activity to keep him out of trouble.

“One day, the front page of The Daily Mirror had a headline: The Roughest School in England. It was a picture of my mates,” he laughs. So off to a boys’ club he went, where he signed up to learn about concert party, a style of variety show.

“My gran, who brought me up, always talked about going to see it,” he says. “She brought me up on an old-age pension, but always, whatever happened, took me to the Croydon Empire every week on a Tuesday night because she loved variety.”

When not singing in A Woman of No Importance, he plays Archdeacon Daubeny in Wilde’s upper-class comedy about a society house party and a woman with a long-buried secret that needs to be addressed.

“It’s old Oscar beating the drum for women of his period,” Hudd explains. “They were all treated like rubbish, so he made them the heroines.”

The 83-year-old, who made his professional debut as a comedian in 1957 before hundreds of appearances on TV, radio and film, as well as the stage, says he’s loving his career as much as ever.

“I enjoy doing it very much,” he says, succinctly, of performing in A Woman of No Importance, before, almost inevitably, kicking on: “I did an early Call The Midwife. I played an old soldier who died at the end of the episode. After that, I died in every job I got on television. This role is particularly lovely because I’m alive at the end of it.”

Roy Hudd will star alongside Liza Goddard in A Woman of No Importance at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford, from Monday (28 October) until Saturday 2 November.