Other than several cast members I was the youngest person in the room at the Civic Theatre for the Operatunity Daytime Concert on Friday, August 3. To be honest, I was only really there to see my actual actual BFF and life partner Hamish McGregor (is it bad that I had to check how to spell his name just now? I don’t care – our love transcends spelling) but I was also there to enjoy the cult-like atmosphere and promise of sandwiches.
All of the stalls were full. Like all of them. It was a sea of grey heads, all seated very early so as to get a good position to watch these genuinely talented and hugely engaging entertainers perform. And what a steal – I can see why Operatunity is so popular. The audience all seemed to know each other and was so thoroughly familiar with the format that I felt a bit out of place – despite sitting, fabulously, beside Hamish’s mum. Although when the cast thanked her for cooking an amazing dinner I basked hard in the reflected glory and simpered as if I’d been there straining the gravy.
The theme (there’s always a theme for the shows) was The Golden Era of Musicals, which was pretty wicked because, as any theatre-type person who went to James Hargest knows, you don’t get through three years of Jonathan Tucker without at least a passing appreciation for Rodgers and Hammerstein. So I went in knowing I would at least know a few songs and that I was sure Hamish would give me a sly look at least once and so what a lovely way to spend a lunchtime.
And it was! The atmosphere was lovely, the people in the audience were having a genuinely great time. They would appreciatively murmur when they liked something (the mention of the Vienna Boys’ Choir got the biggest murmur) and they all knew most of the songs. The performers were amazing, particularly of course My Hamish but also newcomer Kelly Harris and not just because she said my hair was cool when I was going in, but also Rory Nolan and not just because he is a babe. I laughed plenty – it was genuinely funny in parts but also I’m seven so when they all came out in Pearly King and Queen outfits to sing songs from My Fair Lady I died.
And of course, I cried, and not just because I always do when people sing. I was sitting beside someone’s mum, someone so talented. And I watched her watch him. And he sang Sunrise, Sunset from Fiddler on the Roof. And it was beautiful.
Afterwards, there were sandwiches.