Variety show adds £1,000 to The Witham's coffers
By Stuart Laundy - Senior Reporter
A VARIETY show featuring entertainment which spanned 500 years proved hugely popular with a large audience.
Officials at The Witham, in Barnard Castle, had put together an eclectic line-up for the second Sunday night show to raise much-needed funds for the arts centre.
A large audience turned out for the event and helped boost the coffers by more than £1,000.
Host for the evening was the ever-popular Cal Halbert, who is becoming something of a regular visitor to Barney.
With his mix of comedy, magic and music, he closed the first variety night last September, returned with his full show in January and this time ensured the evening's entertainment skipped along at a good pace.
After raising a few laughs, he introduced the first act of the evening – The D'ukes of Scarth, the Staindrop-based ukulele band who meet weekly in the Scarth Hall.
They treated the audience to a couple of popular sing-alongs – complete with lyrics on the big screen – including Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues and Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline.
They were followed by Barnard Castle teenager Jeshika Bassett. What a voice! She was note perfect on songs by the likes of Amy Winehouse and Paloma Faith.
It was then time for some country music from Dixon J Scott, who served up a couple of self-penned tunes plus one cover version before members of the Castle Players’ cast for this summer's production of Alice in Wonderland raised plenty of laughs with their hastily arranged “trailer”.
The Corners Boys played along to some classic scenes from the silent movies which were projected onto the backdrop. Shake, Rattle and Roll to Charlie Chaplin on roller skates will live long in the memory.
After the second interval, it was time for something completely different with Pellingmans’ Saraband.
The duo of Jacob Heringman and Susanna Pell transported the audience back to the days of Shakespeare to play pieces of Renaissance and baroque music.
The sight of the two of them both playing the same lute at the same time was something to behold.
The evening drew to a close with the magnificent Euphoria Choir, accommpanied by a live band.
The audience was up for a sing-along, joining in on standards by Queen, The Mamas and Papas, The Beatles and The Communards – a grand way to sign off for the evening.
While these shows take a lot of putting together, it is to be hoped there will be another sometime soon – it’s well worth the effort.
The Witham’s Laura Shaw said: “We were delighted with the event – so many talented people from the area donating their time to The Witham for an enjoyable evening of entertainment.
“We are very grateful to Peter Dixon, all the performers and the audience of local residents for supporting this fantastic event.”
More pictures in this week's Mercury