The Bersted Boys are back in town, presenting a different, much more stripped-back show as they offer An Evening With… to the Regis Centre, Bognor Regis on Friday and Saturday, October 14 and 15.
James Etheridge, Michael Gattrell and Will Hackett will be accompanied by Brett Wellcome on grand piano on the Little Alex stage, with Aaron White on percussion.
“They bring the safety curtain down on the stage,” explains James, “and the stage area becomes a studio space. We have the audience up there on the stage with us, and there is room for 60 people. It’s a nice enclosed space, and we are really toning it down to suit the intimate surroundings.”
Billed as an evening of intimate musical entertainment, the trio promise to wow audiences with their unique interpretations of well-known, timeless songs from both stage and screen, with some classic pop thrown in for good measure.
“For the first time ever, we are stripping it back and not having synthesisers. In the past we have had the full kit. Sometimes Brett is on two sets of keys, but we are going from that to the more stripped-back style.
“The last show we did was all-singing, all-dancing synthesiser. Now we are doing the most personal show we have done yet. We just wanted to do something a bit different. We have always wanted to do more singing against acoustic guitar.”
The three go back some time: “We used to act and sing together up at Horsham when Michael was up at the Capitol (as general manager). He ran Hit & Run Theatre Company, which I was part of, and I became friends with Michael. William came on the scene and I introduced William to Michael.
“William and I moved to Bersted, and Michael followed suit. There was nothing going on, and we thought we should get some things going in the new area.
“We started a choir in May 2013 with 11 people. We have just started a new term, and we are up to about 60 people on the books, which isn’t bad!”
Also under the Bersted Arts banner, they launched a community theatre company which staged The 39 Steps at Boxgrove earlier this year. The hope is to do another play next year.
In the meantime, The Bersted Boys, a group effectively in association with Bersted Arts, goes from strength to strength.
“We all have our own jobs outside of this, and this is not our living at the moment. But it has been lovely in the last year that people have been asking for us, people have seen our shows and have asked us to perform.
“We were the headliners at the Bersted Parish Festival which was great. It is little bits and pieces, but it is growing, and we would like to do more.”
The point is that their voices contrast and complement.
“We are all very different. Michael is more partial to the more classical musicals. William is very good at taking a pop song and reinventing it, and I like the modern-theatre songs and modern shows.”
For Bognor they will also be offering a tribute.
“We have lost a tremendous number of famous people this year. We are going to pay some kind of tribute to some of the people we have lost, people that have been our idols, people we have looked up to…”
Tickets are priced at £12 (concessions available) and can be bought via The Regis Centre website at www.alexandratheatre.co.uk or by ringing the box office on 01243 861010.
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