Round-up of shows and events

WORTHING’S Assembly Hall turns the clock back for Christmas With The Rat Pack on Saturday, December 18 at 7.30pm.

The show harks back to the glamorous and glitzy nights of Las Vegas when Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr and Dean Martin were the most coveted performers in Sin City.

Set in the Sands Hotel during the late 1950s and early 60s, the show recreates the music and style of the three entertainers, with backing by the Burrelli Sisters and The Rat Pack Big Band.

The show will include Rat Pack classics such as Witchcraft, That’s Amore, Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime, New York, New York, Me And My Shadow, and many more plus seasonal classics Baby It’s Cold Outside, Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer, Let It Snow, White Christmas, Winter Wonderland and Auld Lang Syne.

The Sands Hotel was chosen as the backdrop for the show because it was where Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr, Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford met and performed together for the first time. From then on Las Vegas became their playground with Frank, Sammy and Dean becoming known for their inexhaustible energy on stage and their spectacular productions.

Tickets on 01903 206206 or www.worthingtheatres.co.uk.

FOLK star Bella Hardy performs her new festive show, Bright Morning Star, at Ropetackle’s Folk Club - an evening of seasonal treats with special guests Anna Massie and Chris Sherburn (Shoreham, Friday, December 17, 8pm).

She will include her local Castleton carols Down In Yon Forest and All in the Morning and favourites including O, Come All Ye Faithful and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.

Bella will be singing her arrangement of The Coventry Carol, which was shown on BBC 2 on Christmas Day 2008 as part of Howard Goodall’s show The Truth About Carols, along with popular songs from Bella’s critically-acclaimed albums Night Visiting and In The Shadow of Mountains.

Box office: 01273 464440.

ANNE Reid, star of film and television, will be appearing in concert at St Mary de Haura, Shoreham, on Saturday, December 18 at 7.30pm.

The fundraising event will see profits going to the charitable work of Music at St Mary de Haura and the support of music in the church and community.

Anne Reid, whose credits include Ladies of Letters, Dinner Ladies, Pat and Margaret and The Mother, will be narrating Christmas readings.

Also featured are Stuart Hutchinson (musical director – West End, radio and TV) with singers Yvonne Patrick (soprano – Glyndebourne Opera), Thomas Trezise (mezzo-soprano – Glyndebourne Opera), Andrew King (tenor – Tallis Scholars) and Adrian Powter (baritone – Scottish Opera).

Tickets £10 (includes a glass of mulled wine) available in person from Just Bananas, 14 Brunswick Road, Shoreham on 01273 454034 (Mon-Sat 9-5.30); Bookworms, 4 High Street, Shoreham on 01273 453856 (Tues-Sat 10-5) or by phone: 07973 286944 or by email: organist@stmarydehaura.org.uk or at the church on the night.

SHOREHAM-based guitar virtuoso Richard Durant performs a special Winter Solstice at the town’s Ropetackle, as part of his 2010 Christmas Recitals tour (Tuesday, December 21, 7.30pm).

Richard will offer a winter solstice selection of guitar music through the ages, accompanied by imagery from installation artist Malcolm Buchanan-Dick.

The evening will feature music by Debussy, Dowland and Barrios, unique arrangements of winter tunes, JS Bach and much more. The show also uses lighting designs and projected sequences in a wintry, musical voyage with son et lumiere.

Tickets on 01273 464440 or boxoffice@ropetacklecentre.co.uk.

THE next Regis Players’ production is Christmas Crackers on December 18 at Felpham Village Hall. They are promising a cornucopia of song, story-telling, carols, poetry, music and lots of fun for cast and audience alike.

“Come along and enjoy a great evening – lots of laughter, join in the carols and create the Christmas spirit,” said a spokesman.

Tickets are £5, including refreshments, and are available from Felpham Post Office. The evening starts at 7.30pm.

JOIN Brighton Festival Chorus, Brighton Festival Youth Choir and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for what is now an annual tradition - Brighton Dome’s sixth Sunday afternoon celebration of the very best in Christmas music (Concert Hall, Sunday, December 19, 4pm).

Once aTHgain conductor James Morgan ushers in the Yuletide season in the company of Classic FM star mezzo-soprano Juliette Pochin and other special guests

Together they present an afternoon of festive family music ranging from traditional to modern, from Bach to Britten, including best-loved carols and Christmas favourites including Away In The Manger, Sleigh Ride, Hark The Herald Angels Sing and In The Bleak Midwinter.

More orchestral fun comes courtesy of Peter & the Wolf Live!, featuring The Orchestra of the Blue Balloon (Concert Hall, Brighton, Tuesday December 21, 3pm and 5pm).

An Oscar-winning animation of Sergei Prokofiev’s Peter And The Wolf gets the big-screen treatment in a Christmas concert experience for all the family, accompanied by orchestral score and newly-commissioned script.

Peter And The Wolf is the story of a boy’s thirst for adventure and determination to confront his fear.

This tale - famously pairing animal characters with instruments of the orchestra - has resonated with over five generations of children since its premiere in 1936.

The new film - screened here in a live performance with a new script - reworks Prokofiev’s masterpiece with new twists, capturing all the fun and excitement of the original story. Age seven and up.

Completing the pre-Christmas line-up, Handel’s choral masterpiece Messiah ushers in Christmas with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Brighton Festival Chorus (Concert Hall, Brighton, Wednesday, December 22 at 7.30pm).

Since its formation in 1968, Brighton Festival Chorus has developed a well-earned reputation as one of the most versatile choirs in the UK, competing with London-based choirs in its busy schedule of concerts. The Chorus has gained the respect of many leading conductors and orchestras for its consistently-high standards and for the breadth of repertoire that it performs. Tickets on 01273 709709.

THE Comedy Club at Fontwell Park Racecourse offers a Christmas special on Thursday, December 16.

A spokesman said: “Comedy Club nights at Fontwell Park Racecourse are a sure-fire way to melt even the ice queen in the office to a puddle of laughter.

“Christmas party season is here and to celebrate The Comedy Club offers a special party night packed with fun and laughs with comedy and a disco ‘til late.

“Enjoy stand-up comedy from three top stars of the UK comedy circuit at and the best tunes to dance the night away.”

Visit www.hahaheehee.com for full show info.

Opening the night will be Ninia Benjamin. The headline will be Paul Pirie.

“Paul has had a consecutive succession of sell out shows at The Glasgow Comedy Festival, most recently in 2007.

Tickets £20 on 01243 543335.

CHICHESTER’S Four Chesnuts welcomes the Trevor John Band returning to play on December 18 starting at around 9pm.

Trevor John (acoustic guitar/lead vocals) comes from a successful musical family, the Sahetapys from Singapore. Trevor has been playing and living in the UK for some years now.

He covers songs by Led Zeppelin, ZZ Top, U2 etc, but is just as comfortable doing songs by Tracy Chapman, James Taylor and Neil Young.

He is joined by Trevor Parsons on lead guitar/backing vocals. An IT man by trade, Trevor started the ball rolling by accompanying Trevor John as his guitarist in the band’s early days, and for many gigs they still play as a duo.

Jez Shipton (lead guitar/backing vocals) holds a managerial position in a high street bank by day, but is another performer with plenty of experience playing with different bands and different styles of music.

FORBIDDEN Fruit offers a contemporary musical set in modern-day America (Corn Exchange, Brighton, Monday, December 20, 7.30pm).

Composer Jude Obermuller and lyricist Callum McIntyre have created a tale of love and teenage angst which they will showcase for the first time in their home town.

Their work-in-progress will be brought to life by a host of local talent.

Jude is currently training at London’s Royal College of Music, studying composition with Michael Zev Gordon and piano with Kathron Sturrock. He has also received additional tutelage from TV/Film composers Debbie Wiseman and Howard Davidson.

So far, Jude’s concert work has been given performances by such groups as the London Sinfonietta Orchestra, Lipsync: All Ladies Choir, the Orlando Consort, the Perfect Houseplants, the RCM Symphony Orchestra and the Ossian Ensemble.

With strong ambitions to be a composer for TV, film and theatre, he has written and conducted music to short films. Jude’s credits as orchestrator/arranger include Frankenstein: The Musical (Barbican Theatre, Plymouth & the Cochrane Theatre, London) and California Dreaming (the Old Market, Brighton).

Jude has had varied experience working as a musical director and vocal coach. His past credits as MD include Les Misérables, Guys And Dolls, Brenda Bly: Teen Detective, Little Shop Of Horrors, Back To The 80s, Fiddler On The Roof and Grease - many of which have been for City Youth/City Theatre Company. He has also conducted concerts at the Brighton Dome, Brighton’s Theatre Royal and Regent’s Hall, Oxford Street, London.

Tickets on 01273 709709.

BURGESS Hill Choral Society tackle two composers they’ve never tried before in their latest concert, on Saturday December 18.

On their programme for the first time are the Pergolesi Stabat Mater and Scarlatti’s St Cecilia Mass.

Spokesman Basil House said: “These will form the main items in the concert. As usual, the concert will also include carols and seasonal music for the choir and for audience participation.

“A feature of BHCS concerts is the opportunity of hearing young soloists, some of whom later in their careers have become well known. One example is that five years ago the tenor soloist in the BHCS performance of Bach’s St John Passion was Gareth Malone, now well known for his series of television programmes aimed at stimulating young people’s interest in choral singing. The calibre of his voice was greatly appreciated and described as dramatic and effective in his interpretation of the part of the Evangelist

“This next concert requires five soloists and all have been engaged under the guidance of Penny Jenkins, the singing teacher in Brighton so this another opportunity to hear singers at an early stage of their careers. Some already have considerable experience as soloists throughout Sussex and this concert affords an excellent opportunity to hear them in superb acoustics of St Andrew’s Church, Junction Road, Burgess Hill.”

The concert begins at 7.30pm and is conducted by Michael Stefan Wood, the music director of BHCS. Advance tickets for this popular concert are available from members of BHCS, the BHTC Help Point, 96 Church Walk, or by telephoning the ticket secretary on 01444 831161. Further details of the society and forthcoming concerts are available on www.burgesshillchoral.org.uk.