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Theatre focus on lots of talented youngsters
Has Durham Got Talent? Duncan Leatherdale believes so. He was in the crowd as the ten acts whittled down from an entry of 200 looked to impress judges at the Gala Theatre
DURHAM’S Got Talent: No longer the name of a Durham County Councilrun variety show, now just a statement of fact.
I must admit to being sceptical beforehand – these were predominantly children after all, they weren’t going to be that good were they?
How stupid, because from the moment sRs burst onto the stage through to Katie Smith’s winning performance, this was a show of the highest quality.
Speaking to one of the judges after the show, one third of Capital FM’s Breakfast show Jo-Jo – her fellow DJs were the show’s comical comperes Matt and Bodg – I joked about being disappointed at the lack of harsh criticism from the usually bullish judges. But she simply replied: “There was nothing to be harsh about.”
With their lead singer Jak Hope, from Willington, the youngest entrant at 11, sRs opened the show with rock ’n’ roll swagger with a merger of Choices and Teenage Dirtbag.
The strong start was carried on by solo vocalist Anna Maclaurin, from Durham, who impressed the crowd with her rendition of I Dreamed a Dream.
Esther Hung then brought a touch of the Orient with Chinese dancing and mesmerising ribbon waving before Meghan Nicholson, from Crook, put in a faultless performance of Somebody I Used to Know.
Although a cover, this seemed like her song, I could almost picture her experiencing the heartbreak she sung about.
When the next act was announced as street-dancers The Vault, I was expecting a bevy of baggy-clothed bodypoppers, but instead there was 12-year-old Dean Thompson who got the crowd into a frenzy with his moves.
Gymnastic foursomeJunior Acropolis opened the secondhalf and brought cries of amazement with their extraordinary athleticism, the highlight being when youngest member, Stuart Napier, was flipped high into the air by twins Steven and Paul Dixon, to be caught on the fists of Paul Dixon again and Andrew Piper, a move clumsy to describe, but smooth and swift in its execution.
Jamie Devine, from Chester-le-Street, did a smooth rendition of Chasing Cars that got the females swooning before Bethany Lewis belted out a bizarre, but brilliant, version of Where The Boys Are.
East Durham based Riverdance tap danced in perfect unison and reignited the love for Irish dancing, before Katie Smith took to the stage.
With the use of a clever technology, she recorded the elements of her performance live on stage, including tapping a beat on her guitar, hitting a tambourine and at one point providing four layers of backing vocals all beneath her soulful singing and playing.
The judges, Kate Sorahan, Jack Haywood, Keegan Harris, Amanda Hopgood and Jo-Jo, took only five minutes to decide the winners.
Third were Junior Acropolis, second Riverdance and the winner was a gob-smacked Katie Smith.
The 13-year-old from Chester-le-Street, whose offstage shyness was a sweet contrast to her confident performance, said: “I never thought I would win and was trembling when they read my name.”