Show of Hands at the Royal Albert Hall

A third sell out performance for Show of Hands at the capital’s most prestigious venue.

“The house lights dim. From the back of the auditorium, Steve Knightley, singing his spine-tingling version of Widecombe Fair, slowly walks towards the stage. As he arrives at the front of the arena, the strains of Phil Beer’s fiddle grow louder as he comes to meet him. These boys know a thing or two about the magic of theatre.

Three hours later they finish the concert in similar fashion. This time they are flanked by the whole company of about two dozen friends and proteges who have joined Beer and Knightley to celebrate their 15 years together. The amps are switched off and they sing a sea shanty. They gesture the audience in vain to join in but it sits there spellbound. Then there is another standing ovation.

Knightley and Beer are augmented throughout this night – their third at the venue in ten years – by the superb double bass and vocal talents of their regular accompanist, Miranda Sykes. Among their other guests are Fishermen’s Friends, a choir from Port Isaac in Cornwall and Tom Robinson, who sings a ramshackle but well received 2-4-6-8 Motorway.

Knightley sings his finely crafted stories of country life with even more passion than usual, perhaps because this is anti-rural London, perhaps because the size of this particular village hall is so liberating. Beer slips effortlessly between half a dozen stringed instruments and sings a moving version of Charles Causley’s poem, Innocent’s Song. Despite all the instrument changes, sound engineer Chris Puxley produces an exceptionally clean and clear sound.”

Graham Gurrin – The Stage

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