Tag Archives: Dougal Irvine

Dougal Irvine’s ‘Acoustic Overtures’ Launch, Battersea Barge

30 Oct

Dougal Irvine is probably best known as the composer of the award-winning musical “Departure Lounge” that ran at the Waterloo East Theatre last year. On the 1st November he is going to release his debut album “Acoustic Overtures” on SimG Records.

Unfortunately some of the original performers couldn’t be there (apparently they are all in Colorado…), but it was a simply amazing afternoon and was a treat to hear all of the songs sung live.

The first song was “Mr Musical”, sung by the amazing Katie Bernstein. It’s a great song full of musical references. I’m still trying to work out how many exactly. Great fun and performance by Katie.

Next up was “Clean Cut Rapper”, sung by Dougal himself with Sarah Lark and Sarah Earnshaw as backing singers. Again, it’s a fun song and I think his sense of humour is brilliant.

The third song “Two Faces” was the total opposite of the first two. It’s a very moving and beautiful song, I fell in love with it when I heard Ashleigh Gray sing it back in April. This time it was sung by Sarah Earnshaw, who was incredible as well.

“Silence and the Rain” was sung by Dougal Irvine and Cassie McIvor. It’s another stunning song, probably one of my favourites.

Then Dougal sang “The Morning After You Do It”. It’s a very rocky song, loved it.

Katie Bernstein came back on stage to sing “Megan’s Hero”. It’s a lovely and quite fun song, loved her performance.

Next was “Tir Nan Og”, sung by Annalene Beechey and Dougal Irvine. I simply love Annalene’s voice, ever since I’ve heard both of them sing exactly this song at the Perfect Pitch Fundraiser last year. Hearing it again was just amazing and I still think that hers is the ultimate interpretation of this song.

The next song is not part of “Acoustic Overtures”. It was “Do You Know What I Think of You” from Departure Lounge, but with different lyrics and sung by Steven Webb and Dougal Irvine. It just was incredibly funny and one of the highlights for me.

Steven Webb then sang “Simple”. It’s such a beautiful song and suited Steven’s voice perfectly. Stunning.

Dougal then sang “Do You Want a Baby Baby”. Again a very funny song and I enjoyed hearing Dougal singing it himself.

The next song is not part of “Acoustic Overtures” either, “Values”. It’s a lovely song.

“Mermaids” was sung by Annalene Beechey and Sarah Lark. It was stunning, their voices sounded amazing and it’s a hauntingly beautiful song.

Sarah Earnshaw, Sarah Lark, Dougal Irvine and Peter White then sang “We Need Love”. For me, Sarah Earnshaw’s voice stood out in this song, but it’s another brilliant song.

The last song was “Song For Friends”, sung by Dougal again. It was the perfect ending for a wonderful Sunday afternoon.

Dougal Irvine is an incredibly versatile and talented composer and this album is an absolute treat with some of the best performers in the West End . I’ve listened to it as soon as I got home and it sounds wonderful. It’s a great mix of songs and well worth buying. You can buy it British Theatre  and iTunes from Tuesday.


Sunday in the Pub with… – MTA Fund-Raiser

28 Sep

Sunday in the Pub with… was a cabaret fund-raiser for and organised by two current students of the MTA, Lorin Jane Forster and Kieran Grant. The MTA (Musical Theatre Academy) is a unique institution which offers a 2 year fast track course in musical theatre. However, as they are a very new institution, the students at the MTA are not eligible for grants or student loans and have to fund the whole training themselves. Therefore those two students came up with the idea of this cabaret. It seemed to me that they did not expect so many people to turn up, because the venue was very crowded (and incredibly hot!), but the excellent performances on stage more than made up for that.

There was a mix of current and recently graduated students as well as some special guests. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole evening, but there were some songs/performers that stood out for me.

I Want A Man sung by Lorin Jane Forster and Sophie O’Shea. I love this song by Michael Bruce and they did a great job with it.

Touch of Love is a song from Dougal Irvine’s musical In Touch (which will get its first full-length performance at the MTA – exciting!) and is also on Stuart Matthew Price’s album All Things In Time. Fantastic song and performance by both Dougal Irvine and Stuart Matthew Price.

CiCi Howells sang Tim Prottey-Jones’s song Rain On Me. This was another highlight for me. I loved her voice!

In Short from Edges never fails to make me laugh and Aaron Lee Lambert (who is currently in Shrek) had the audience in stitches.

Next up were some songs from Dougal Irvine’s musical Departure Lounge. First, Robbie Durham and Kieran Grant sang Do You Know What I Think Of You? and then Steven Webb, Jack Shalloo and Stuart Matthew Price (all Departure Lounge alumni) joined Dougal Irvine on stage for the other four songs. I really enjoyed hearing them sing the songs again. Steven Webb sang Sophie and he was superb and then they all sang Why Do We Say Gay and Left Spain. My favourite however was Jack Shalloo’s Picture Book, because it was the best I have ever heard him sing it.

From Up Here was sung by all the MTA students and I really enjoyed it. Their voices blended so well and it’s a lovely song.

Tir Nan Og is another song from In Touch and I can only agree with Ziggie Sky Ward (who was great), I also fell in love with it when I first heard it.

Lorin Jane Forster sang Laurence Mark Whythe’s David’s House. I heard that song sung by someone who has already played a leading part in the West End only a couple of weeks ago, but I prefered Lorin’s version by miles. Not only does Lorin have a stunning voice, but she also acted the song. Probably my favourite performance of the evening!

Jack Shalloo came back on stage to sing a song from his album London Soul. She Takes Care Of Me is a very catchy song and I liked it a lot.

I have heard Stuart Matthew Price sing Road To Heaven before, but it is such a beautiful song that it is always a treat to hear it again.

For the last song of the evening all the MTA students came on stage again to sing Sunday from Sunday in the Park with George. It was the perfect ending for the evening and a great reminder of just how much talent had been on that stage in the past three hours.

I hope Lorin Jane Forster and Kieran Grant managed to raise lots of money and I wish them (and the other students at the MTA) the best of luck for the future. They did a wonderful job in putting that evening together and I am glad I managed to go.

Now I am looking forward to seeing some of the recent MTA graduates in the UK premiere of Nevermore in a couple of weeks…

Speckulation Acoustic Sessions: Julie Atherton

6 Jun

To celebrate the first anniversary of the release of her second album – No Space For Air – Julie Atherton gave two concerts at The Pheasantry this weekend and I was lucky enough to attend one of them.

No Space For Air is one of my favourite albums, Julie’s voice is simply stunning (not only her voice though!), so I knew I had to go and I’m so glad I did.

She was joined by David Randall (piano) and Dougal Irvine (guitar).

She opened the concert with  the first song on her album, Weak. It’s a beautiful song and hearing Julie singing it live was great.

She then sang a song by Michael Bruce, Blind.. I really liked the different arrangement of it.

Next was Lost In Translations. I usually skip that song when I listen to her album, I don’t even know why, because I loved it this time.

Her Morning After was hilarious. I’d heard her singing it at one of her cabarets at the Trafalgar Studios before, but it just never gets old.

I love her version of Sondheim’s Losing My Mind, but then I don’t worship at the Church of Sondheim ;-).

Up next were two of my all time favourite songs. The first one, Cannonball, is not on her album unfortunately, and the second one is Never Saw Blue Like That. She was joined by Dougal Irvine for the latter one.

The last song of the first half was Anywhere But Here by Lance Horne. I love the lyrics of that song, it’s beautiful.

The first song of the second half was A Girl of Few Words from her first album. I hadn’t listened to it for a while, so it was a nice reminder of how good it is.

Next up was her version of the Linkin Park song Crawling. I really like Linkin Park and when I first heard her sing this song, I wasn’t sure if I actually liked it, but after listening to it a couple of times I started to love it. Now I actually think that Julie gets the lyrics across better than the original. Loved it!

The next song, Baby Baby,  was written by Dougal Irvine. I had heard Verity Rushworth sing it before and thought then that Julie would be amazing singing that song, so it was a nice surprise, and she didn’t disappoint. It’s hilarious and I hope I’ll get to see the whole musical at some point!

Next was Silent Whispers  (again, beautiful), followed by Leather.

The last song of the evening was Someone To Fall Back On by Jason Robert Brown. It’s not on her album, but I’d heard her singing it earlier this year and hoped she’d sing it again.

As encore we got Michael Bruce’s Portrait of a Princess. It’s on his album Unwritten Songs that was released this year. I don’t think I need to say anything about it…



All in all, it was an amazing evening and I couldn’t have spent it any better. Julie just proved again how stupidly talented she is!

She’s doing another concert on 26th June at the Apollo Theatre. I unfortunately can’t go, but if you’re free on that night, you should go! Tickets can be booked here.

You can also catch Julie in the UK Tour of Sister Act, playing Sister Mary Robert!