It’s Christmas. Trees are up, lights are a-twinkling and quite frankly, if you attend a concert at the Lyric Hammersmith entitled ‘Joe Stilgoe: Christmas at the Movies’, you know what you’re getting yourself in for. A cosy atmosphere, wit and warmth from Stilgoe and all his special guests, and a dazzling array of gltizy festive-wear.
And the music! ‘From the Movies’ is rather a cheat term when it comes to Christmas music, as all the classics have appeared in one movie or another over time, so Stilgoe has pretty much free reign to pick from a festive catalogue of hits. Although he teases some Greatest Showman he by and large sticks with the old favourites – Astaire, Crosby, all those warm, syrupy classics that just make you feel fuzzy.
Stilgoe is a wonderfully engaging host, and an excellent musician, but it is also a joy to watch his three special guests. West End star Louise Dearman and saxophonist Jess Gillam both give spectacular performances, but Rob Brydon is the real audience favourite. An improvised duo by him and Stilgoe on the theme of ‘worst christmas presents ever received’ is a particular highlight.
However, if this all sounds rather up your street, and you’re eagerly checking out the Lyric Hammersmith website as we speak, there is some bad news. You’re already too late – Christmas at the Movies is a one-off concert and you’ve missed it, this year. It will be broadcast on Christmas Day on Radio 2 but honestly I would recommend just popping it in your diary for next year already, as if the Lyric has any sense this is one festive treat that they will make a recurring part of their Christmas line up.
Images: Scott Rylander